Flora: 'The First Win of Many to Come'|
The Red Raiders secured their first Big 12 victory on Wednesday night with a 3-2 win over Baylor.
Oct. 27, 2011
by Britton Drown
Perhaps it was fitting that the final point on Wednesday night came in one of the longest rallies of the match. Texas Tech had waited quite some time for this victory, and with a 14-13 lead in the fifth set, they had to battle through one final and lengthy point to seal the victory--their first in Big 12 play this season.
"That was the longest rally of my life," senior Amanda Dowdy said with a laugh after the match. "I'm so proud of us for finishing that."
The Red Raiders (15-9, 1-8 Big 12) finished the job as Karlyn Meyers blocked an attack by Baylor's Qian Zhang to give Tech the 15-13 win in the final set, and the 3-2 victory in the match. As the attack fell to the floor, Tech head coach Don Flora gave an exuberant and signature fist-pump from the bench, while his Red Raiders spontaneously celebrated in front of him.
But on Wednesday night they finished, and with it, gave Flora his first Big 12 victory at the helm of the program.
"It's significant because it opens up the door and we now know we can do it," Flora said after the match. "That's a really good team, and it just proves that we have to stay the course."
Staying the course is exactly what the Red Raiders did on Wednesday night. After opening the match with a powerful 25-13 win over the Bears where they hit for a match-best .429 percentage, Tech suffered a letdown in the second set. Flora's squad racked up a team-high 11 errors as Baylor easily evened the match.
The Red Raiders rebounded though, and battled to secure a 27-25 win in the third set and took a commanding 2-1 lead in the match.
But Baylor wasn't going to go away easily. The Bears responded with their best set of the match, outlasting Tech 25-10 and tying the match at two sets apiece.
"After game four, we had to keep our confidence level up," Dowdy, who finished with a team-high 16 kills and added 18 digs, said. "We did not show up to game four, so we knew we had to come back stronger."
Baylor jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the final set, but as they did all night, the Red Raiders came together and answered right back. Texas Tech took an 8-7 lead at the switch, and never looked back.
"The magic tonight was in those young women battling." Flora said.
Yes, they battled, and took their biggest step forward in the Flora era. Not only did they win their first conference match under the first-year head coach, but the Red Raiders are now just two wins shy of securing their first winning season since 2001.
While it may have taken some time to get that first Big 12 win, clearly it was a large step forward in the right direction.
"The vibe in this program is really good right now," he said. "It's the first win of many to come."