FORT WORTH, Texas – After dropping a close five-set match to the Horned Frogs earlier this season, the Texas Tech volleyball team earned sweet revenge as it overcame a 2-1 deficit and ground out a thrilling, 3-2 victory at TCU, Saturday afternoon at the University Recreation Center.
Now 7-8 in Big 12 Conference play (17-12 on the season), the comeback marks the Red Raiders' most league wince since going 9-11 in 2002. Additionally, the win pushed Tech to its fourth Big 12 road win – the most Big 12 season road wins since posting four back in 2001.
TCU claimed the opening set 25-22 before Tech punched back with a 25-20 win in the second. TCU made a run for the win in the third set 26-24 but Tech was determined to stay in the fight and neutralized the match once again with a close 25-23 victory in the fourth set. Falling in the fifth set earlier in the year, the Red Raiders buckled down and sealed their fifth five-set win of the season with a 15-11 win in the final stanza.
Emily Hill and Brooke Kanas went off for 19 kills apiece while Caitlin Dugan followed closely behind with 14 against the Horned Frogs. Sophomore Karrington Jones nearly joined her teammates in double digits after finishing the day with nine kills.
Defensively, four Red Raiders finished the day with double-digit digs. Emerson Solano led the match with 16 digs, Hill finished with 12 and Katy Northcut posted 10. Finishing with a double-double for the second straight match, sophomore setter Alex Kirby collected 12 digs and a career-high 58 assists in the five-set win.
At the net, Allison White moved five blocks closer to the 300-mark while Dugan and Jones each collected three blocks apiece. As a unit, Tech finished the day with eight team blocks to TCU's 11.
HOW IT HAPPENED
SET ONE: TCU 25, TEXAS TECH 22
Three quick points put TCU ahead, but Tech gained ground quickly thanks to two Hill kills and an ace from Kylie Rittimann. A hard point off the swing of Dugan gave the Red Raiders their first lead of the day but it was short-lived as TCU went on a 7-1 run to take an 11-7 advantage. A dirty kill from Kirby brought the Red Raiders within two points and Northcut followed with Tech's second ace of the set to shorten the gap even further. A pair of kills from Hill and Jones brought the Red Raiders within one point at 17-16 and a TCU error tied things up at 17-all. Two kills from Dugan and Kirby gave Tech a one-point edge, 19-18, but the Horned Frogs answered back on the next position to tie things up again. Three more points for the Horned Frogs put Tech in a 22-19 whole before Dugan responded with her fourth kill of the set. The freshman and Allison White posted back-to-back kills to come within one point at 23-22, but TCU answered with a pair of points and Tech dropped the opening set by a narrow score of 25-22.
SET TWO: TEXAS TECH 25, TCU 20
The Red Raiders equalized the match in the second set and came back onto the floor with strong motivation. Head coach Tony Graystone had a call reversed to start Tech's crusade in the second and Northcut followed with her second ace of the match to put Tech up by, 2-1. A kill from Kanas and block from Jones and Hill kept the momentum rolling and a TCU error kept Tech ahead, 5-4. TCU neutralized the set at 6-6, but a 5-1 Tech swing gave the Red Raiders an 11-7 edge. Three straight kills from Kanas and a hard point from Hill forced a TCU timeout with Tech leading 16-11. Dugan and Jones threw up Tech's third block of the day to distance the lead, 19-14 and two more kills along a TCU attack error pushed Tech ahead, 22-15. TCU put together four unanswered points to close the gap, 22-19, but Dugan answered the call with her seventh kill of the day. A TCU blocking error moved the Red Raiders to set point and a monster block from Kanas and White stunned the Horned Frogs and clinched the 25-20 win in set two.
SET THREE: TCU 26, TEXAS TECH 24
The third set was gritty from start to finish as neither team broke beyond three points of the other. Kanas came alive and used three of her six kills in the set to tie up the action, 6-6. Hill followed up the onslaught with a kill of her own and a TCU attack error put Tech ahead, 8-6, early on. After two tied scores, Texas Tech used kills from Dugan and Kirby, as well as a TCU attack error to reclaim a 13-12 advantage. However, TCU answered back and used two points to swing the lead back its way. Three more Kanas kills tied up the set three more times, but three straight TCU points put Tech at a narrow, 21-19 deficit. Kills from Hill, Kirby and Dugan brought Tech within one point of the Horned Frogs at 23-22 and, after a TCU timeout, a Horned Frog attack error tied things up at 23-all. The teams traded points to tie for the 17th time in the set, but the Red Raiders couldn't capitalize on the momentum and TCU went ahead, 2-1 in the match with a 26-24 win in the third.
SET FOUR: TEXAS TECH 25, TCU 23
After falling behind 6-3, a TCU service error and a pair of Red Raider blocks tied up the fourth set, 6-6. A 4-1 run for the Horned Frogs forced a Tech timeout at 10-7 but Hill responded after the break with a quick pair of kills. From there, the teams traded points until two kills from Kanas and a blast from White gave the Red Raiders their first lead of the set, 16-15. TCU took a brief 18-17 lead before kills from Jones and Hill, along with a block from Kirby and Jones stalled the Horned Frogs' momentum. The teams traded points coming out of a TCU timeout, but Tech was able to maintain separation and a timely TCU service error finished off the equalizing set in the Red Raiders' favor, 25-23. Tech's fourth-set performance was its best of the night as the Red Raiders posted 17 kills.
SET FIVE: TEXAS TECH 15, TCU 11
In a similar setting the last time these two teams met, Tech was determined to come out in force to start the fifth. Hill powered Tech's first point and, after TCU took a 2-1 lead, the Red Raiders used a 4-1 run to lead, 5-3. Tech was the first to reach eight points – thanks to a kill from Dugan – but TCU responded with a point to mark the fifth tie of the set. However, Tech buckled down and scored the next four points on kills from Hill and Kanas and a pair of blocks. Kanas drilled her fourth kill of the set to move the Red Raiders towards the final point of the match and the sophomore's 19th kill of the day sealed the fifth, 15-11, and clinched the 3-2 comeback win at TCU.
COMING UP NEXT
The Red Raiders look to wrap up the regular season on a high note against Kansas State next Saturday (Nov. 30) at United Supermarkets Arena. Live stats, as well as a stream on FOX Sports, will be available for the Red Raiders' Senior Night. For all the latest information on the Texas Tech volleyball team visit TexasTech.com or follow @TexasTechVB on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.