LUBBOCK, Texas – Katy Keenan pounded a career-high 16 kills on a .433 hitting percentage, and the Texas Tech volleyball team went the distance with No. 18 Iowa State before dropping a 3-2 decision (27-25, 25-23, 19-25, 21-25, 12-15) Friday in-front of a spirited 1,483 fans at the United Supermarkets Arena.
"We really played well in those first two sets, and I feel like we were able to digest enough to be able to slow their offense down so that we could score off of our serve," Texas Tech head coach Tony Graystone said. "Third set, things really changed. Their ball control got really, really good. You could see how strong their offense is. I felt the fifth set was back and forth. I loved the fight that we showed. If you're going to go down to a ranked team, that's how you want to go down. You fight for every point and see the very best from both sides."
Keenan reached double digit kills for the third time this season and for the first time since opening weekend. The .433 hitting clip was a best for Keenan against a Big 12 opponent since her freshman season when she knocked eight kills and .583 hitting ratio at Oklahoma on Oct. 28, 2015.
Missy Owens amassed career-highs with 55 assists and 20 digs en route to her second double-double of the season. The junior setter has handed out 107 assists at an 11.89 per set mark over her last two matches.
Texas Tech's (12-4, 1-2 Big 12) outside attack of Emily Hill, Sarah Redding and Chandler Atwood each recorded 10-plus kills. Hill came away with 14 kills and 10 digs to claim her fifth double-double and reached double figure kills in seven of her last eight matches.
Redding tagged 14 kills and added three blocks, while Atwood cranked 11 kills and three blocks. Atwood has powered home 10-plus kills in all three Big 12 matches on the season.
Allison White chipped in six kills and six blocks. She has registered five or more blocks on five occasions which includes two of her three Big 12 matches.
Kate Klepetka sprawled out for 21 digs to anchor the back row for the Red Raiders. She was filling the libero positon for injured Reyn Akiu, an All-Big 12 Preseason pick.
"That was part of the game plan," Graystone said. "We knew that Iowa State likes to throw balls at the setter and take their opponent out of being able to run their offense. We knew Missy was going to get a lot of work of the defensive side, and she was up for it."
The Cyclones (11-2, 2-1 Big 12) raced out to an early 8-3 advantage in set one, but Texas Tech found its rhythm with 10 of the next 11 points to surge ahead 13-9. Atwood, Hill and Keenan ignited the spurt with consecutive kills. Then, the Red Raiders forced Iowa State into four attacking errors sparked by an Owens-White block. All square at 25-25, Texas Tech connected a Keenan kill on a rip play through the middle and a Kylie Rittimann ace to close out the 27-25 decision.
The Red Raiders took that momentum into the second set and built a 14-9 edge after a Redding kill and an Atwood solo block. Texas Tech stretched the margin to 20-13, but the Cyclones nearly wiped away the deficit. Up 24-23, the Red Raiders answered the bell behind Keenan who tooled the block on a slide kill down the line to give the Red Raiders a two-set advantage.
Iowa State claimed sets three and four by 25-19 and 25-21 margins, respectively. The Cyclones hammered 33 kills on a .484 hitting percentage and converted on 31 of their 41 sideout attempts to draw even. Jess Schaben and Samara West combined to provide 18 of their 37 kills to fuel the ISU attack. West finished with 20 kills and seven blocks whereas Shaben notched 17 kills and 15 digs for the Cyclones.
The winner-take-all fifth stanza started with an Owens ace. However, Iowa State answered with four quick points and maintained the four-point spread at 11-7. The Red Raiders rallied behind back-to-back Hill kills. Then, Hill paired with White for a block on Schaben to make it 11-10. The two teams traded four sideouts before Iowa State forced a Redding attacking error coupled with an Alexis Conaway kill for the final margin of 15-12.
"Just for us to stand across the net from a team of that caliber and know were right there (is a positive)," Graystone said. "We were three points away from knocking off a ranked team. Those are important steps for our team to take away. We keep saying that the more times were in these situations the better were going to be. I thought Katy Keenan was spectacular tonight. Offensively, I think our block held its own. We were still making plays, and I thought it was a good all-around match."