Red Raiders, Flora Earn First Big 12 Victory Over Baylor
The Red Raiders captured their first Big 12 win Wednesday night over Baylor.
Oct. 26, 2011
LUBBOCK, Texas - After two close five-set losses at home during the first half of Big 12 play, Texas Tech and Don Flora found a way to overcome that final hurdle Wednesday night en route to earning their first conference victory of the year in a five-set thriller over Baylor at the United Spirit Arena.
The win marked the first in league action for Flora, who has led a rejuvenation of the Tech program that is now 15-9 overall and just two wins shy of the school's first winning season since 2001.
The first-year head coach helped Tech improve to 1-8 in conference as the Red Raiders were opening the second half of the conference schedule against Baylor, which dropped to 15-9 overall and 3-6 in league play.
"To go battle in a fifth set against a really good Baylor team, that was a barrier that we needed to overcome and I was proud of how our team handled it," Flora said. "We knew we would eventually put everything together to earn that first victory, so I hope this is the first of many."
The Red Raiders, who had fallen in five sets to No. 25 Oklahoma and Texas A&M during the month of October, refused to squander another opportunity, rallying midway through the final frame to put the Bears on the ropes.
After Baylor tied the set at 13 late, Amanda Dowdy drilled one of her 16 kills to put Tech ahead again, and Miara Cave culminated a long rally on match point with a hard ball up the seam that caused a Baylor error.
Tech opened the final frame in a 3-0 deficit after three quick points by Baylor. Dowdy and the defensive play of Tory Vaughan on the back row pushed Tech to an 8-2 run from there as the Bears could never regain the lead.
Vaughan recorded eight of her match-high 31 digs in the final set alone, while Dowdy finished with three kills and 20 attempts to lead Tech offensively.
"Amanda and Tory, along with our setter Karlyn Meyers, really led the way and raised the bar about what we were doing in set five," Flora said. "It was good to see them emotionally take over then."
The Red Raiders entered the final frame reeling from a tough 25-10 loss in the fourth that allowed Baylor back in the match after Tech took a close 26-24 victory in the third set.
The two squads split the opening two sets with the Red Raiders controlling the opening frame en route to a 25-13 victory. The win improved Tech to 14-2 on the year when winning the first set.
Breeann David was also instrumental in helping lead the Tech attack as the freshman finished with 15 kills to go along with nine digs and three blocks. Miara Cave was the third Tech player in double-digits as she recorded 11 kills and four blocks.
Defensively, Vaughan's 31 digs marked the most for a Tech player in the rally scoring era (2001-present) as she finished six shy of the single-match record set by Ann Romjue against Texas A&M on Nov. 18, 2000.
She was joined in double-digits by Dowdy and Meyers, who had 18 and 17 digs each, and then Brandy Huskey who chipped in 10 digs of her own. Meyers added 37 assists for the Red Raiders as she and Dowdy both posted double-doubles.
Torri Campbell led the Baylor offense with 17 kills while Zoe Adom and Briana Tolbert added 14 and 11 kills each. Libero Allison King recorded 27 digs along the back row as the two teams combined to fall one dig shy of the 200 mark.
The Bears finished with a .172 hitting percentage, surpassing Tech's .123 average, marking Tech's first victory when trailing in the category all season.
The Red Raiders will take a week off before returning to the road to face Texas A&M next Wednesday night in College Station for a 6:30 p.m. match at Reed Arena.