The NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship began this week in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The TCU Horned Frogs earned the #2 seed in the tournament bracket after finishing 38-3 on the season.
TCU was paired with Southland Champion 15-seed Texas A&M Corpus Christi in its opening round match on Wednesday. The Islanders are a familiar foe for TCU, having faced off twice before this season, both won by the Frogs: a 5-0 sweep in Fort Worth in March and a 4-1 win in April in Tallahassee, FL.
The opening round of the NCAA Tournament is single elimination, while teams that advance will enter the double-elimination portion of the Tournament. So this was a win or go home situation for the Frogs, but they more than rose to the challenge to advance.
TCU quickly got on the board, earning a clean first point from Sutton MacTavish & 2nd Team All-American Kaylie McHugh, winning 21-9, 21-11 from the #2 spot. The Frogs took a 2-0 lead in the dual as the #5 pair Megan Muret & Rochelle Scott fought off a charge from the Islanders for a 21-15 first set win, followed up by a smashing 21-10 2nd set.
CCSA Conference Pair of the Year and 1st Team All-Americans Daniela Alvarez & Tania Moreno provided the match clinching point with a straight set 21-12, 21-18 victory to officially send the Horned Frogs to the Elite 8.
In the points that remained unresolved, as TCU took the 3-point advantage: Maria Gonzalez & Ana Vergara won a tough battle in their first set 21-19 and were leading in set two 18-9; the Hailey Brockett & Alexis Filippone pair won its first set 21-17 and was ahead 18-15 at the time of the final buzzer.
After going 0-2 in its first appearance last season, it is a great achievement for TCU to earn its first NCAA Tournament victory in program history, Coach Gutierrez told ESPN after the win, “Making history for TCU is always a good feeling and this group really deserved that.” These Frogs are poised for more history this weekend: TCU will next battle 10-seed Georgia State on the sand Friday morning at 11:00 AM Central on ESPNU & the ESPN App. The Frogs and Panthers faced off once earlier this season, with TCU taking a 4-1 win in Fort Worth.