Texas Tech Rallies Late to Edge Houston Baptist
The Red Raiders opened the Rice Invitational with a 3-2 victory over Houston Baptist Friday.
Sept. 14, 2012
HOUSTON - Aubree Piper led Texas Tech with a career-high 19 kills, including eight in a deciding fifth set, as the Red Raiders edged Houston Baptist, 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 16-25, 25-21, 25-23), Friday afternoon in the Rice Invitational opener at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The five-set win was already the third this season for the Red Raiders (11-1), who survived five Houston Baptist (8-5) match point attempts in the final frame before a Husky attacking error gave Tech the victory on its seventh try to close the match.
"I think this team understands it has to play point-to-point and that was evident today," Tech head coach Don Flora said. "It took us a while to get into that rhythm after we won game two, and it was really special to watch them trust each other in game five. This was an intense five-set win for us."
When Tech needed a big play during a back-and-forth final set, setter Emily Ruetter normally turned to Piper, who hit .366 overall and .500 during the fifth frame alone. The junior also notched four blocks along the net.
Piper was one of five Tech players in double digits as Meghan Stacy recorded 16 kills while Miara Cave and Emily Ehrle added 14 each. Lydia McKay rounded out the group with a season-high 11 kills to go along with a team-best .526 hitting percentage.
Ruetter, meanwhile, was efficient on the offensive end with a career-high 71 assists, the most for a Red Raider since Laura Grote dished out 81 on Oct. 30, 2002, against Kansas State. She also recorded 17 digs on the back row for her team-leading sixth double-double of the season.
Even with Tech's success offensively, Houston Baptist matched the Red Raiders early on as the Huskies hit over .300 during the first three sets before closing the match with a .237 percentage.
Rachel Brummitt anchored the Tech back line with a career-high 34 digs, 18 of which that came during the final two sets where Houston Baptist failed to hit over .200 as a team. She was one of five Red Raiders in double digits, joining Rutter (17), Stacy (12), Emily Wright (11), and Tory Vaughan (10).
Brummitt finished with the second-most digs in program history, matching Rochelle Kaa'iai's total on Sept. 25, 1992, against Cal Poly. Ann Romjue holds the school record as she recorded 36 digs against Texas A&M on Nov. 18, 2000.
"I think this is an important win for us because you tend to think more about a Rice than a Houston Baptist, but they are a really good team," Flora said. "We tried to convince our kids that they were really good and they proved it. You have to love what Rachel Brummitt did defensively and we served it better so hopefully that will lead to more success this weekend."
The win improves Tech to 5-3 all-time under Flora in five-set matches and 25-3 in non-conference play.
The Red Raiders resume the Rice Invitational Saturday morning in an 11 a.m. match against Cal State Northridge before closing the event against host Rice at 7 p.m. in Tudor Fieldhouse.