The next sport up in our season recap series is TCU Indoor Volleyball. The 2022 season was not a great one for the Frogs but it had flashes of hope and steps in the right direction for a program entering a new era next season with first-year head coach Jason Williams.
The Frogs finished 8-18 overall with a 2-14 record in conference play with a very difficult schedule having 6 top ten matchups over the course of the season including the number 1 and 2 teams in the country in Texas and Wisconsin respectively. The season started off in Madison, Wisconsin for the Big 12/Big 10 challenge where the Frogs lost two tough games to Wisconsin as well as a top ten ranked Minnesota team. TCU then had its best stretch of the season winning 5 straight, setting the program record for consecutive sets won with 16 including the first set in a nail-biting 5-set loss to Houston Baptist. A win over Incarnate Word preceded a tough 4 game losing streak for the Frogs before a 5 set win over Oklahoma in Fort Worth. After losing back-to-back games in Austin to the Longhorns, TCU would split the series against Kansas State in Fort Worth, both games going 4 sets. Unfortunately, the Frogs would not win another game the rest of the season but would set the attendance record in a heartbreaking 5-set loss to a top-ten ranked Baylor team. Over 4,000 fans attended that game which is a great sign for the program moving forward. As we saw with TCU basketball this past season, an improved fan atmosphere can have drastic impacts on team success, momentum, and recruiting in the offseason.
Honors and Awards:
The Frogs set a record this year with the most Academic All-Big 12 selections in program history with 10 selections across the first and second teams. Madi Cole, Dani Dennison, Alyssa Heist, Mykayla Myers, McKenzie Nichols, Bella Swafford, and Ashley Wehrstein were all named to the first team while Taylor Raiola, Afedo Manyang, and Audrey Nalls all earned second-team honors.
It is impossible to talk about TCU volleyball without mentioning the huge impact that the legendary Jill Kramer has had on the program. Kramer not only had been the head coach since 2014, but also was the first scholarship athlete for TCU’s volleyball team in program history and holds records for kills, kills per set, and total attacks. She led the Frogs to two NCAA postseason births during her time as head coach as well as two trips to the NVIC postseason tournament. Kramer coached the team to its first-ever win over a top 10 opponent, handing Texas its only conference loss of the 2015 season in Austin. Kramer and TCU parted ways following the 2021 season but her impact on the program is irreplaceable.
This offseason, Jason Williams was hired to be the new head coach of TCU volleyball. Williams was formerly the associate head coach for Baylor and previously coached at the Junior Club Level in Texas. TCU has already proven to be an attractive option for recruits as it brought in a top 5 class as recently as 2019. Additionally, Williams’ experience coaching at lower levels in the state of Texas and having experience recruiting at the collegiate level at Baylor will create an even more ideal environment for recruiting. Williams has done an excellent job filling the assistant coaching positions in hiring former Frog Lauren Otto Rao who helped lead the volleyball team as a player to its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in 2009 and led Keller High School to a State Championship game berth in 2022 as their head coach. Williams also brought in recruiting ace Morgan Thomas to be the recruiting coordinator and an assistant coach. Thomas has had stops as an assistant coach at Texas Tech, Pitt, and Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Director of operations Mackenzie Keenan, assistant coach Kyle Luongo, and volunteer assistant Reilly Killeen were all retained by Williams and should provide continuity and ease the transition between coaches in the program. The Frogs return most of their production from last year’s team as top setter McKenzie Nichols will be back for her senior season along with almost all of the top attackers including Julia Adams and Taylor Raiola who both had over 200 kills last season. Next season has all the makings of a bounce-back season for the Frogs with a large amount of returning production, good coaching hires in the offseason, and a strong recruiting class including 4 high school recruits and 3 transfers that should be able to contribute immediately.
Next Season’s Schedule:
The first home games of the regular season should be good ones as rematches with number 1 ranked Wisconsin and number 7 ranked Minnesota are scheduled for the 26th and 27th of August. Home games against Texas A&M and Alabama highlight the rest of the non-conference schedule and the new home and home setup of the conference games will have rivals Baylor and Texas travel to Fort Worth once each.
All signs point towards the 2022 season being an exciting one for TCU volleyball in the first year of the Jay Williams era. TCU fans need to #packthescholly this fall to support the Frogs.