LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech volleyball (14-9, 3-7) is back on the road as it travels to Austin, Texas, to square off with No. 3 Texas (18-2, 10-0) this Saturday, Nov. 4, inside Gregory Gym. First serve is slated for 2 p.m. on Longhorn Network.
The two squads met just two weeks ago in Lubbock with the Longhorns taking a 3-0 win (27-25, 25-12, 25-18) in front of Tech’s largest home crowd since 2002 and fourth-largest to ever watch volleyball at United Supermarkets Arena.
“The first set was right there. We let them off the hook and they rolled us,” head coach Tony Graystone said Thursday regarding their prior match with Texas. “We’ve had the week off with no matches, so we’ve really gotten back to basics on some stuff and reemphasized what our system is all about. There are no secrets (in the Big 12). Everybody knows everyone. The trick is to keep improving and be able to throw some new wrinkles at everyone.”
The Red Raiders had Wednesday off following a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Kansas State last Saturday in Lubbock. Tech trailed 2-1 against the Wildcats before winning the fourth set, 25-23, and the fifth set, 15-12. The win was Tech’s first over K-State since 2013, breaking a seven-match skid to the Wildcats.
With six matches left on the regular season schedule, Texas Tech currently sits in a tie for fifth place in the league standings at 3-7 with West Virginia, who the Red Raiders defeated 3-1 earlier this season in Lubbock.
The Red Raiders have been shorthanded throughout most of its Big 12 schedule. Junior setter Missy Owens, who ranks third in the Big 12 in assists, has missed the last three matches after suffering a head injury. Preseason All-Big 12 libero Reyn Akiu missed the first four Big 12 matches and five overall with a knee injury. Although she has been back in the lineup the last six matches, she has been limited and unable to fulfil her usual role as the team’s libero.
Texas enters the match on a 12-match win streak after rallying from down 0-2 to squeak out a 3-2 victory at Kansas State Wednesday. Led by the nation’s top blocker in senior Chiaka Ogbogu, the Longhorns lead the nation in blocks with 3.32 per set and rank in the top 10 nationally in hitting percentage at .306.
The Red Raiders look to counter with junior Katy Keenan, who is hitting .364 on the year, which ranks in the Top 5 of the Big 12 leaderboard. Junior Sarah Redding was Tech’s best threat against Texas in the last matchup, connecting on eight kills at a .235 clip while Keenan added six while hitting .385.
Tech is one win away from guaranteeing its first winning season since 2001.
Tech is looking for its first win over Texas since 2000, first over a Top 10 team since 1996 and first over a ranked team since 2012.
Junior Missy Owens, who has missed the last three matches, ranks second in Big 12 play with 11.25 assists per set.
Senior Kate Klepetka ranks second in Big 12 play with 4.44 digs per set and third among all active Division I players with 2,099 career digs.
Tech is 11-2 when hitting .200 or better and 14-1 when holding foes under .250.
As always, be sure to stay updated with the team on Twitter and Instagram (@TexasTechVB). For all things Texas Tech volleyball, go to www.TexasTech.com.