Johnson Leads the Red Raiders in 3-0 Loss|
Oct. 6, 2004
LUBBOCK, Texas - The Texas Tech women's volleyball team came out strong in games one and two to give the Texas Longhorns a run for their ranking in front of the season's largest home crowd of 1,292 at the United Spirit Arena tonight. The Longhorns (14-0, 6-0 Big 12), behind a .271 hitting efficiency, proved to be too much for the Red Raiders (6-7, 2-5 Big 12).
The 1,292 crowd ranks 12th on Tech's all-time home crowd list, replacing a previous mark of 1,273 set in 1996 against the Longhorns.
The Longhorns suffocated the Red Raider offense behind 12-total team blocks versus Tech's five. UT also outperformed the Raiders from the ground with 62 digs on the night against Tech's below-average 48. Yet, it was the Burnt Orange's play from the net that would be the deciding factor, as UT out hit the Red and Black pounding down 56 kills to just 38 from Tech.
The Red Raiders, despite struggles in game three, played hard to stay close to the Longhorns in games one and two behind the consistent play of senior Kelly Johnson who totaled 13 kills, one ace, four blocks and four digs in the losing effort. Freshman Amy Charlebois and sophomore Kiley Lyons each came close to double-digit kills, putting away nine and eight respectively. Senior Laura Grote dished out 29 assists, while junior Brianna Florus tabbed three blocks on the night to lead the Red Raiders at the net.
Tech took advantage of its' home-court crowd in game one after falling behind early to the Longhorns 5-2. Tech used the crowd's intensity as they charged back behind two crowd-raising kills by Johnson to tie the game at 9-9. Texas again took hold over the game behind three crucial hitting errors by Tech, as the Horns took back the lead at 11-9. It then was Tech's turn to add to the scoreboard as they tied the game at 15. Tech kept it close and took a two-point edge over the Longhorns, 25-23. The Longhorns, however, kept their poise in the close game to pull in front of the Red Raiders at 29-26. Texas ended the game with a kill from Bethany Howden to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
Game two began where the game-one battle ended, with both teams trading blows. Tech held an early lead over its ranked foe 7-4 behind early tough serving and the offensive play of Lyons. UT looked sluggish early with off-the-mark passing, leading to quick hitting errors. Tech remained solid with Johnson leading the way at the net taking Tech to a 10-8 edge. With a few hitting errors, the Red Raiders allowed the Longhorns back into the match and fell behind by two at 17-15. Texas kept the pressure on the Red Raiders behind solid defense, holding a lead over the Red and Black at 21-18. The Longhorns walked back to the line with a 26-19 lead, before the Red Raiders countered with a kill from Lyons, 26-20. The Longhorns kept the game in their control, using their five-point cushion to their advantage. UT played just hard enough to trade-points with the Red Raiders before taking the game at 30-27.
In game three, UT came out strong, denying the Raider offense early to take a 9-2 lead. The Longhorns continued to keep the game in a headlock at 14-6 with solid play at the net and the backcourt. Then UT's Mira Topic would take over the game at net to pound down four straight kills for the Burnt Orange. The two-time Big 12 Player of the Week increased the Longhorn lead to 17-6. Tech found a late offense behind freshman Emily Ziegler, sophomore Lyons and Robyn Bucy, to bring the Red Raiders into double-digits at 26-13. Tech's early sluggish play gave the Longhorns too much of a lead to overcome as UT won game three 30-13 and swept the match 3-0.
Tech will take the homecoming weekend off before returning to the Big 12 battlefield against Baylor. The Red Raiders will begin next week's match ups on the road in Waco, Texas, on Wed., Oct. 16, at the Ferrell Center, before returning home against Kansas State on Sat., Oct. 19.