Texas Tech Closes Weekend With 3-1 Victory Over Montana
Aubree Piper connected on 13 kills to lead Texas Tech to a 3-1 victory Saturday evening.
Sept. 8, 2012
MISSOULA, Mont. - Take away one set and Don Flora says he received the type of effort he wanted in Texas Tech's finale of the Best Western Grant Creek Inn Invitational.
Backed by a season-high .368 hitting percentage, Texas Tech took the opening lead and then overcame a devastating second-set loss en route to drop Montana, 3-1 (25-15, 11-25, 25-19, 25-15), Saturday evening at the West Auxiliary Gym.
"Montana is a team that has a lot of options and defends really well," Tech head coach Don Flora said. "They fly around and made us work really hard to earn the victory. I was proud in how we responded from the loss in the second and came back to take control of the match."
Aubree Piper and Emily Ehrle led the Red Raiders (10-1) with 13 kills each while Meghan Stacy added 12 of her own. All three attackers hit near .300 for the match with Piper leading the group with a .500 average followed by Stacy's .370 clip and then Ehrle at a .294 mark.
The Red Raiders hit over .300 in the first and third frames before responding with a .600 clip in the fourth which marked Tech's highest percentage in a set this season.
Tech's accuracy over the final two frames came in handy after a devastating 25-11 loss in the second, Tech's worse margin of defeat in a set this season. The Red Raiders connected on just eight kills in the frame and received some help thanks to two Montana (2-7) service errors.
"I like the pieces to puzzle with this team," said Flora, who improved to 24-3 in his Tech tenure against non-conference opponents. "I think 10-1 shows that we've earned some tough wins. We've played some tough teams to make us go get some wins and tonight was another example of that."
Paige Branstiter connected on 12 kills to lead the Montana offense that hit .254 as a team. Brooke Bray and Kelsey Schile also added 10 for the Grizzlies while Kortney James recorded 36 assists.
Tech finished second in the four-team format as Towson also finished 2-1 on the weekend and claimed the tournament title due to the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Red Raiders.
Towson swept the Red Raiders in straight sets Friday but fell to Montana Saturday afternoon before rallying to defeat Furman in the finale. Furman and Montana both finished 1-2 overall.
The Red Raiders return to the road next weekend at the Rice Invitational where Tech will face Houston Baptist, Cal State Northridge and the host Owls in the two-day tournament that begins Friday.