LUBBOCK, Texas – Starting Big 12 Conference play on a high note, the Texas Tech volleyball team remains unbeaten at home thanks to a 3-1, Wednesday-night win over West Virginia at United Supermarkets Arena.
The Red Raiders, who finished the night with a combined .222 hitting percentage, claimed the first two sets 25-23, 25-20 before West Virginia interrupted with a slim 25-23 win in the third set. Despite the late comeback for the Mountaineers, the Red Raiders bounced back and closed out the match on a 25-19 win in the fourth. Now 11-4 on the season, Tech's first Big 12 win of the year marks the seventh consecutive match won by the Red Raiders.
Three Red Raiders – Emily Hill, Allison White and Karrington Jones – racked up double-digit kills while the team combined for nine total blocks on the night. Hill paced the Red Raider offense with 15 kills, White followed closely behind with 13 and Jones tallied 11 kills on the night. Sophomore setter Tatum Rohme shined as she posted 46 assists for the Red Raiders.
Defensively, Emerson Solano nearly matched her career mark with 23 digs against the Mountaineers. Hill ranked second on the Tech roster with 14 digs and sophomore Katy Northcut flew left and right as she collected 11 digs on the night. Senior Kylie Rittimann was the other Red Raider to reach double-digit digs thanks to 10 in Tech's Big 12 opener.
SET ONE: Texas Tech 25, West Virginia 23
Caitlin Dugan and Jones welcomed the Mountaineers into league action with a monster block on the left side and the teams battled back-and-forth from there. Both squads remained tied, or within one point of another, until a block from Jones and Rohme gave the Red Raiders a 9-7 advantage. A Mountaineer attack error later on gave Tech a 12-9 lead and a quick dump from Rohme put Tech up by three at 13-10. An attack error from West Virginia's Kristin Lux gave the Red Raiders a four-point lead and Tech never slowed down. Adding onto Tech's lead even further, another West Virginia attack error moved the Red Raiders to 20 points in the set and, as a result, the Mountaineers called for a break in the action. Jones kept Tech's foot on the gas pedal with a kill on the right side and the Mountaineers' ninth attack error of the set forced another timeout with Tech leading 22-19. West Virginia came back with two points out of the break, but one final point from White clinched the 25-20 set win for the Red Raiders.
SET TWO: Texas Tech 25, West Virginia 20
The teams swapped points for the first six possessions until a kill from Hill and a Red Raider block added a two-point separation. However, an 8-3 run for the Mountaineers put Tech at a 14-11 disadvantage halfway through the set. Despite the flip in momentum, the Red Raider offense started chipping away and a 9-2 swing favoring Tech put head coach Tony Graystone's squad in prime position at 21-17. A kill from White and two West Virginia attack errors moved the Red Raiders to set point and a rocket off the swing of Hill clinched a 25-20 victory for Tech in the second.
SET THREE: West Virginia 25, Texas Tech 23
Leading 2-0 in the match, the Red Raiders got off to a slow start and found themselves in an early 3-0 hole. Tech's first point came on a kill from the hand of Dugan, but the Red Raiders continued to trail throughout the front half of the set. Four consecutive points – two Mountaineer errors and kills from Hill and Dugan – brought Tech within two points at 18-16 and Tech continued to chip away at West Virginia's lead. Trailing by just one point, Northcut earned the first kill of her Red Raider career after a ball ricocheted off her face in the backcourt. The ball flew across the net and an unsuspecting Mountaineer tipped the ball out of bounds to tie up the set 21-21. Tech stayed in the hunt in the final few points, but West Virginia claimed what would be their only set of the night to make it a 2-1 match.
SET FOUR: Texas Tech 25, West Virginia 19
Brooke Kanas notched Tech's first point of the set and a kill from Hill evened the set early at 2-2. Jones's ninth kill of the match gave the Red Raiders a 4-3 advantage, but the Mountaineers quickly tied the set up once again on a kill from the left side. Graystone won his second challenge of the match to help the Tech to a 5-4 edge and two kills from Dugan added some much-needed separation for the Red Raiders. Solano added onto Tech's lead with the Red Raiders' first ace of the match and another point from Dugan forced a West Virginia timeout. West Virginia came within one point on three separate occasions before a missile from Hill and ace from Rittimann gave Tech a 14-11 advantage. The Mountaineers tried to make up ground, but Dugan broke up three straight West Virginia points with her ninth kill of the match. After a kill from White moved Tech to the 20-point mark, she followed up with her second solo block of the night to put the Red Raiders ahead, 21-16. Kanas and White posted two more kills and a pair of points from Jones capped off the final set, 25-19, to give the Red Raiders the 3-1 victory.
The Red Raiders continue conference action with a trip to Austin, Texas, where they will take on the Texas Longhorns on Saturday, Sept. 28. First serve is set for 1 p.m. at Gregory Gymnasium. Live stats and a stream on the Longhorn Network will be available for the match. For all the latest information on the Texas Tech volleyball team, visit TexasTech.com or follow @TexasTechVB on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.