LUBBOCK, Texas – A strong start powered the Texas Tech volleyball team to a 3-0 rout of Abilene Christian Monday night in the team's 2017 home opener at United Supermarkets Arena.
The Red Raiders (5-1) outhit the Wildcats (1-6) .517 to .030 in the opening set and went on to take the match 25-12, 25-20, 25-20. A crowd of 657 fans on opening night saw a decisive win in which Tech hit outhit ACU .318 to .106 for the match, including 51 Red Raider kills to 26 for the Wildcats.
"I thought the crowd tonight was fantastic," head coach Tony Graystone said. "You never quite know what it will be like on opening night, but I really appreciate everybody coming out to see us. We have been telling everybody that this was going to be a different Tech team, and we are going to be a team that our fans can rally around. I think they came out, and we really appreciate that. We look forward to doing it again on Friday."
For the third time in six matches, sophomore Chandler Atwood led the team in kills with a match-high 12 on a season-best .281 hitting. Sophomore sidekick Emily Hill joined her in double figures with 10 kills while adding five digs. The Denton, Texas, native has recorded double-digit kills in five of six matches this season.
"Tonight was a lot closer to what we're trying to get to," Graystone said of his offense. "We know we have to get faster, and we've got to be able to let Missy move the ball around. Sometimes we want to go inside out like we did tonight, and sometimes we want to set the pins first, but the big thing is that we have been getting blocked too much. So, we have been trying to speed up and give our hitters a few more angles to swing at. I thought for the most part, mission accomplished."
Quarterbacking the offense was setter Missy Owens. The junior tallied 37 assists, while adding six kills on seven attacks for a .857 attack percentage. She also got it done defensively with seven digs, one of four Red Raiders to post seven or more digs. Libero Reyn Akiu was her typical self on the back row as she led the team with 12 digs.
ACU, in its inaugural season under the direction of 2004 Texas Tech volleyball alum Angela Mooney, was led by Katelyn Mueller's nine kills. The Wildcats, who previously took sets from Wake Forest and Rice, have now lost five in a row.
For the latest news and updates about Texas Tech volleyball, follow the team on Twitter and Instagram at @TexasTechVB and stay tuned to www.TexasTech.com.
An attendance of 657 was Tech's largest opening night crowd since 2010
Tech improves to 5-1 on the season and 36-7 all-time in home openers
Tech improves to 31-2 all-time against Abilene Christian, including 18-1 in Lubbock
Head Coach Tony Graystone improves to 455-182 all-time and 15-22 at Tech
The Red Raiders held a t-shirt drive at the match and will donate 35 t-shirts to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts
The sweep is Tech's third of the season with the others coming against Dartmouth and Eastern Washington
Texas Tech hosts the Red Raider Classic this weekend at United Supermarkets Arena. The field includes Lamar, UC Riverside and UTRGV. Tech will play Lamar and UC Riverside Friday before wrapping up the event with UTRGV Saturday at 1 p.m. Single-match tickets can be purchased online, at the door starting one hour before first serve, or by calling the Texas Tech ticket office at 806-742-TECH.