Hill, Kirby shine in Tech’s second-ever sweep of KSU

Hill, Kirby shine in Tech’s second-ever sweep of KSU

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Manhattan, Kan. – The Texas Tech volleyball team posted its second-ever sweep over Kansas State thanks to powerful performances from Emily Hill and Alex Kirby, Wednesday night at Ahearn Field House.

Tech battled it out with the Wildcats and clinched 33-31, 25-21 and 25-20 set wins to improve to 12-5 on the season and 2-1 in Big 12 Conference play. The Red Raiders have now won their last four matches against the Wildcats.

Kirby, who sat out the previous 13 matches, returned to the floor and racked up 42 assists after suffering a stress fracture during the second week of the season. Hill paced the squad with 21 kills and the Red Raiders combined for nine blocks against the Wildcats.

The Red Raider defense shined as it limited Kansas State to a .161 hitting percentage in its Big 12 home opener. Emerson Solano (14), Katy Northcut (12) and Hill (10) finished the match with double-digit digs and Allison White highlighted Tech's middle blockers thanks to five block assists.

HOW IT HAPPENED
SET ONE: Texas Tech 33, Kansas State 31
A fiery start for Tech placed the Red Raiders in prime position to take set one. Service aces from White and Solano, along with kills from Hill, Brooke Kanas and Kirby, helped the Red Raiders right out of the gate and powered Tech to a commanding 11-4 lead. The Wildcats used a 7-4 run to bring the set within three points, but Hill and Kanas came alive on the left and right sides to give Tech a four-point separation at 17-13. The Wildcats rallied back and came within one point of the Red Raiders' lead but kills from Caitlin Dugan and Hill moved Tech to the 20-point mark with a two-point advantage. However, Kansas State used three unanswered points to take a 21-20 lead late in the set. From there, the teams battled back-and-forth and produced nine lead changes in hopes of clinching the opening set. After collecting just 11 kills last Saturday, Hill's 11th kill of the match gave the Red Raiders a one-point edge at 32-21 and Karrington Jones buried the final point to give Tech a 33-31 win in set number one. Tech combined for three team blocks, which was a huge factor in the Red Raiders' success late in the set.

SET TWO: Texas Tech 25, Kansas State 21
Unlike the match opener, the lead for the second set stayed within three points. A pair of blocks from Jones, Hill and Kirby helped Tech early on and White's third kill of the match put the Red Raiders ahead, 10-7. Back-to-back points for the Wildcats cut Tech's lead down to one point and Kansas State took a 16-15 lead just after the halfway mark. The Wildcats extended their lead to two points at 18-16, but four straight points for the Red Raiders– a kill and ace from White, block by Dugan and Jones, and a Kansas State attack error – gave Tech it's second lead of the set. A huge kill from Jones, along with a pair of points from Hill put Tech ahead 23-20 and a Wildcat error and Kanas kill ended the second set 25-21 in favor of the Red Raiders. Racking up 17 kills in the second stanza, the Red Raiders combined for an impressive .375 hitting percentage against the Wildcats.

SET THREE: Texas Tech 25, Kansas State 20
Holding onto the momentum, Tech burst out into the third set and took an immediate 6-1 lead. White collected a kill, Northcut collected her first ace of the evening and Dugan and White paired up for a block in the middle during the Red Raiders' five-point swing. Kansas State interrupted with two quick points, but Hill came firing back with her 18th kill of the match. The Red Raiders kept firing and a quick dump from Kirby in the middle gave Tech a seven-point lead at 12-5. A 3-1 swing for the Wildcats brought Kansas State within five points but – highlighted by a block from Dugan and White – Tech responded with three unanswered points to hold the lead. A kill from Dugan lifted Tech to an 18-10 lead and Tech never relinquished the momentum. Jones laid down a hard kill in the middle for Tech's 20th point of the set and Hill's 21st kill of the match sealed the 3-0 sweep with a 25-20 victory in the third and final set.

COMING UP NEXT
The Red Raiders return home to United Supermarkets Arena for a 1 p.m. match against TCU on Sunday, Oct. 6. Live stats, as well as a live stream, will be available for the match. For all the latest information on the Texas Tech volleyball team, continue to visit TexasTech.com or follow @TexasTechVB on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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