LUBBOCK, Texas – Freshman Brooke Kanas tallied a career-high 23 kills and senior Katy Keenan added 14 to help the Texas Tech volleyball team overcome a 2-1 deficit and earn a thrilling five-set win over Kansas State in front of 1,012 fans Wednesday at United Supermarkets Arena.
The win extends Tech's winning streak to nine games and moves it to 4-0 in Big 12 play, one win shy of matching its best start in Big 12 history.
"It was a huge win," Graystone said. "I think you saw the team grow and figure things out. From my point of view, they didn't change anything about themselves or their demeanor when they got down 2-1. I think we were frustrated that we weren't playing better, and K-State obviously had a lot to do with that."
The Red Raiders (15-3, 4-0) earned their first win of the season when trailing 2-1. They also trailed by the same score last season when they beat the Wildcats (10-6, 0-5) in Lubbock.
The 23 kills for Kanas mark a career-high for the New Braunfels, Texas, native, doing so with just four errors for a .452 attack percentage. The rightside hitter has been Tech's leading attacker in conference play, hitting in double figures in all four matchups.
"Honestly, we just all want to win," said Kanas of her big night. "We're just working together. Working hard, doing whatever we need to do to pull out the win because we really believed in each other. "
Keenan drove home 14 kills, two shy of her career high. The Argyle, Texas, native was Tech's most efficient weapon on the night outside of Kanas and added four blocks to lead the team.
Junior Emily Hill and senior Missy Owens both posted double-doubles. Hill secured 11 kills and 14 digs to go with two aces, while Owens registered 51 assists and 18 digs. For Hill, her second kill of the night put her at 1,000 for her collegiate career, which began at Mississippi State in 2016.
The Red Raider entered the match as the Big 12's leading defensive unit, and they did not disappoint once again. Tech limited KSU to a .174 attack percentage thanks to a total team effort on the back line. Sophomore Emerson Solano and junior Kylie Rittimann went for 23 digs each, marking a career high for Rittimann. Owens and Hill were also in double figures, while freshman Katy Northcut added seven digs.
Trailing 2-1, Tech sent it to a fifth set behind eight Kanas kills in the fourth set alone. Tech gained the lead at 10-9 on a kill from junior Chandler Atwood and then opened up a 16-10 lead behind an ace from Owens, an overpass from KSU that led to a kill and a ball-handling error by the Wildcats. A solo block from Atwood gave Tech set point, and Kanas put the frame away.
The pivotal fifth set was a stalemate early on before. Owens took over in the fifth as Tech was able to sideout on a setter dump to make it 5-5. After the sides traded service errors, Owens went on serve and baffled the Wildcat passers, leading to five KSU attack errors on the next six points. Holding an 11-5 lead, kills from Kanas and Hill setup match point and a KSU double gave the Red Raiders the win.
The Red Raiders will head to Fort Worth on Saturday, Oct. 6, to take on TCU (10-4, 2-1). First serve from the TCU Recreational Center is set for 1 p.m. on FSSW+. Texas Tech won all three meetings against the Horned Frogs last season, including twice in Fort Worth.
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