Johnson Posts Season-High 28 Kills In Tech's Heartbreaking Loss to Aggies, 3-2|
Oct. 23, 2004
LUBBOCK, Texas - Senior Kelly Johnson served a match-tying high four aces, tied for sixth on Tech's career service-ace leaders list with 112, while posting a double-double with a match high 28 kills and 15 digs in the losing effort against the Aggies. In the cross-state rivalry match, the Aggies (12-5, 8-3 Big 12) were able to edge out another fifth game series from the Red Raiders (7-10, 3-8 Big 12) with a 17-15 game five victory, and a 3-2 match win today at the United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.
Sophomore Kiley Lyons chipped in 14 kills and a match-tying high four aces in the losing effort, while sophomore Nina Miller missed double digit kills by one with nine on the match. The Red Raiders were managed by freshman setter Emily Ziegler, who made her first match-start for the Red Raiders this year posting six kills, match-high 56 assists, one ace, 12 digs and two blocks. Junior Desiree Batista owned the backcourt with a match-high 25 digs from the libero position, while tallying three assists and one ace to make it 27 aces on the season.
It was all business in game one as the Red Raiders came out firing from all aspects of the game. A diving dig from Ziegler gave the Red Raiders a chance to increase their lead at 7-3 early over the Maroon and White. Ziegler would backup the effort on the next rotation as she turned towards the net for a kill off a Desiree Batista dig. Then Johnson stepped in at 14-8 to serve up her first ace of the match to put Tech up at 15-8. Johnson would prove to be unstoppable in game one, pounding down an overpass to put Tech up 26-15. Ziegler then stepped to the line to strike again, this time with an ace, Tech 27-15. A&M countered the Tech charge with two straight points to close in at 27-17. The Aggies fended off one game point with a block assist from Holly Cally and Kari Kelley, forcing the Red Raiders to earn it on service receive. Freshman Amy Charlebois stepped up to the challenge hitting the game-winning kill giving Tech the victory 30-19. Tech came out of the blocks hitting a .297 versus the Aggies .103. Both teams mirrored each other in kills with 14, but the Aggies inability to get the serve in play posting three service errors at pivotal moments in the game would be the game decider. Tech's 30-19 win is the second lowest points A&M has ever scored in a match this season.
The intensity of game one carried over into the second with the Red Raiders taking another early lead 7-5. Tech's Johnson continued her dominance from the service line becoming Tech's eighth all-time service-ace leader with her second ace in the game, and 110th career. After a Johnson ace and two consecutive from sophomore Kiley Lyons, Tech was almost out of reach of the Aggies at 17-10. The Aggies however had a couple of surges left in them, eating away at Tech's lead with four and three point charges to bring the game within one at 25-24 Tech. Trading points, A&M allowed the Red Raiders to claim a 28-27 lead before A&M's Laura Jones posted her first ace of the match right when Texas A&M needed it the most. With a following kill from an A&M attacked gave the Aggies their first lead of the game. A&M didn't relinquish their hold of the game as in the closing moments of game two they topped the Red Raiders 31-29.
Tech started the third game like all the rest, with a lead. Tech, behind the arms of Lyons and Johnson established a quick six-point advantage at 6-0. Both teams were exchanging holds on the game with the Aggies slowly chipping away at the once eight-point lead of the Red Raiders at 15-9 Tech. Tech's Brianna Florus, who led the Red Raiders with six total blocks, tallied a solo to put the Red Raiders just in front of the Aggies at 20-19. The rest of the game remained tight with no team owning a greater than two-point lead until the end, when A&M just as they did in game two, edged out the Red Raiders with two kills from A&M's Jones to take the game 30-28.
While the Red Raiders had let a nine-point and eight-point lead go in games two and three, the Red and Black remained tough at the beginning of game four to start with a edge at 10-6. While the Aggies again made a charge at 15-14 to take control, the Red Raiders did not let another lead go as they took game four with a 30-26 victory. The Red Raiders used two of Johnson's four aces to shut down a revamped Aggie offense that looked to push a late-game surge. The Aggies, who started off the game with a struggling offense that produced poor passing and numerous errors at net, still were riding high on the solid performances of its seniors in Jones and Melissa Munsch who kept the Aggies in the game at 28-24. The Aggies however could not overtake the Red Raiders who would not be stopped at net, posting 17 team kills. With Tech's fourth-game victory, another fifth and deciding game was set up. Both teams are no strangers to the marathon matches as three of the last five matches were decided in the fifth. The most recent five-game match was earlier this year in College Station where the Aggies made a late game five-point run to upend the Red Raiders 15-10.
The Red Raiders chose to receive off the coin toss, and used their early attack attempt to begin the game with a kill from Charlebois. The game then was a seesaw of points, with no team making any ground at 5-5. Game five saw 10 ties as both teams were dead even at 10 all before Tech took charge. . Tech looked the victor with a 13-10 lead and the serve as Lyons stepped to the line. Then came A&M. Making a charge of their own, the Aggies turned the tables to take the lead behind a kill from Jones and two-consecutive blocks at net, 14-13 A&M. Tech, with game-point on the line, traded blows with the Aggies as the ball crossed the net five times before Ziegler snuck in a dump in front of a diving Aggie defense. Tech's Johnson then stepped to the line jumping to a solid serve that left the Aggies offense scrambling to return it. The serve led to an A&M error. Tech had its first match point at 15-14, which was quickly erased as A&M's Munsch dropped in a deep corner kill to tie the game at 15. Tech couldn't overcome the defense of the Aggies who denied the Red and Black another kill, as Texas A&M took the game and match 17-15 and 3-2, respectively.
The A&M Aggies were led by last week's AVCA National Player of the Week Jones with 25 kills and 14 digs in the match. Munsch tabbed 19 kills and 18 digs of her own, while leading the Aggies at the net with 11 total blocks.
Tech will look to revenge its home loss against the Aggies this coming Wednesday as they take on the Baylor Bears on Oct.27 at 7 p.m. in the United Spirit Arena. Tech took the previous meeting between the two teams 3-1 over the Bears in Waco.