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Katie Clark (No. 11), a 6-foot-3 sophomore, rounds out a stout offense for TCU volleyball. Courtesy TCU

It’s that time of year. We should be talking about football. What does Frog defensive tackle Ross Blacklock eat for breakfast? What will coach Gary Patterson’s towel specialist look like? Will offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie get fired and join former partner Doug Meacham in the XFL? Calm your mind. We will have months to dissect all those things and more. Before football fog sets in, make a calendar alert to be at the University Recreation Center the night before Saturday’s kickoff to ignite your Riff-Ram spirit. TCU women’s volleyball bumps off their season less than 24 hours before football steals all the attention across Stadium Drive. If you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing Division I college volleyball, it’s a fast-paced game of long-limbed ladies spiking the ball at alarming speed. The Frogs are anticipated to be a top contender in the stacked Big 12. Here is what you need to know.

By the Numbers

Head coach Jill Kramer’s purple punishers finished sixth of nine Big 12 squads last season with a 15-12 overall record and 7-9 in their conference. The Frogs are efficient on offense, averaging more attacks and kills with better error percentages than their opponents. Blocking wasn’t football’s strong suit last season, and volleyball echoed that deficiency. TCU is down statistically in solo blocks, assists, and errors from blocking. Frog v-ball is an up-and-down middle-packer among conference foes. Their best season was 2015, when they finished 9-7 in the Big 12. Their worst was 2017, when they managed a mere four wins in conference. Historically, the Texas Longhorns are the killers. Bevo’s Bellas dropped only one conference contest last season and are picked to finish in the lead this year for the eighth consecutive season. Kramer hustled during the offseason and collected a recruiting class that demanded the attention of her coaching peers. TCU is picked to finish third in the conference this season – their highest-ever ranking – thanks to the incoming group ranked fifth in the country by Volleyball Magazine.

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Power Players

Returning sophomore élan McCall (No. 1) is already running short of room on her resume and one of only eight unanimous selections to the preseason all-conference team. McCall, an outside hitter, was voted Big 12 Freshman of the Year and first-team all conference last season. The spiker spent her summer training in California with the U.S. Women’s Collegiate National Team and is already one of the most decorated and successful Frogs in program history. Audrey Nalls (No. 15) of Waxahachie will join McCall as the other half of an underclassmen outside-hitting dynamic duo. The incoming freshman is a top-ranked recruit and a catalyst for the  class’s overall ranking. She has been voted as one of two selections for preseason freshman of the year. The 6-foot-1 striker notched more than 2,000 kills in her high school career and should build offensive dominance for Kramer’s squad.

Good Hosts

TCU volleyball hops better at home. The University Recreation Center – better known to alumni as The Rickel – houses the purple ladies and statistical home-court advantage. Coach Kramer will use the home crowd and host three tournaments that represent the Lady Frogs’ first eight matches. The Cowtown Classic starts Friday and runs through Sunday against High Point University, Lipscomb, and Villanova. The Fight in the Fort starts Friday, Sept. 6, with plays against Colorado State, Florida Atlantic, and Florida State. The Add-Ran Cup will cap their homestand and begins on Friday, Sept. 13, hosting Miami and finishing with the Auburn Tigers. Non-conference play visits SMU and Rice before the Big 12 home-and-home schedule commences. Supporting TCU’s volleyballers is affordable compared to their padded counterparts at Amon G. Carter. Adult season tickets are a modest $75. Single games sell for $10. Family packages, kids, and group rates are even cheaper. It might be good for your psyche to attend a few contests where the offense is a proven commodity. Oh, and air-conditioning.

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