WACO, Texas – The Texas Tech volleyball team fell at Baylor, 3-1, in its Big 12 opener Wednesday night at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.
The Red Raiders (11-3, 0-1) entered the match without Preseason All-Big 12 libero Reyn Akiu, who didn't travel due to a knee injury. After Tech battled the Bears to a 1-1 draw through two sets, the Red Raiders were unable to keep up in the final two stanzas as Baylor (11-3, 1-0) claimed a 25-20, 23-25, 25-20, 25-16 decision.
"I thought we played pretty well," head coach Tony Graystone said. "Our block was good, we fought hard for points and I thought we played good volleyball. We just didn't do enough to slow Baylor down."
The Red Raider block matched Baylor's as both sides finished with 10 on the night. Reigning Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week Katie Staiger and the Bears eventually found holes on the back row as Staiger earned 20 kills on .415 hitting and the Bears outhit the Red Raiders .353 to .250.
"We missed Tita (Akiu) for sure," said Graystone. "Our serve receive wasn't what we needed it to be. I thought the offense was good. When we were in system, we were scoring. It was just that first touch. We weren't consistent enough with it to do what we needed to do."
The sophomore tandem of Chandler Atwood and Emily Hill led the Tech attack, both finishing with 12 on the night. Atwood hit .308 and added four blocks, while Hill added three blocks and five digs.
Baylor maintained a slight distance from the Red Raiders in the first frame as they hit .343 for the set. It was a different story in the second set as Tech limited Baylor to just 12 kills and forced eight Bear errors. Tech held a 16-13 lead and seemed to be in control before the Bears rallied to pull ahead 23-20. Following a timeout, Tech came storming back and a kill by junior Sarah Redding polished off a 5-0 run that would give Tech the set and even the match at 1-1.
Both sides stayed even in the third before Baylor eventually extended its lead to three at 22-19. From there, the Bears closed it out and carried the momentum into the fourth set on their way to the win.
Texas Tech's .250 hitting percentage marks its best in a Big 12 match under Graystone
Tech falls to 8-14 all-time in Big 12 openers
Tech moves to 49-32 all-time against Baylor
Senior Kate Klepetka made her first Big 12 start and second consecutive start as the libero
Tech started two freshmen in middle Allison White and defensive specialist Emerson Solano