LAWRENCE, Kansas – A shorthanded Texas Tech volleyball team fell in straight sets to No. 11 Kansas Saturday at Horejsi Family Athletics Center in Lawrence, Kansas.
The Red Raiders (13-8, 2-6) entered the contest without junior setter Missy Owens, who did not travel due to a concussion. Junior Kyndal Cowan stepped into the starting role and led a valiant Texas Tech effort that fell short, 25-22, 25-18, 25-14.
"The girls fought hard and gave a great effort," head coach Tony Graystone said. "I thought Kyndal did a good job. Kansas is a top-10 team, and they looked like it today. No disappointment on our end. I thought Sarah (Redding) and Katy (Keenan) did really well. Their play got better as the match went on. It was good to see us fight like that."
Cowan finished with a career high in assists with 25 and digs with eight. Sarah Redding led the way offensively with 10 kills at a .304 clip. It marked her fifth double-digit kill performance of the season, while sophomore Emily Hill chipped in seven kills and 13 digs and junior Katy Keenan added five kills at a .364 clip.
Kansas's Madison Rigdon led the Jayhawks with 14 kills on .407 hitting and eight digs. Setter Ainise Havili recorded a double-double with 34 assists and 11 digs. They Jayhawks (18-3, 7-1), whose only Big 12 setback was to No. 3 Texas, hit .299 as a unit.
Tech got off to a strong start in the first, including an early 4-0 run that helped Tech gain an advantage through much of the frame. With the match tied at 18-18, Kansas closed the set with six kills in their final seven points, capped off with a pair from middle blocker Mmachi Nwoke to win the set.
The Red Raiders kept up the fight in the second set. Trailing, 18-10, Tech went on a 6-0 run featuring an ace by Hill and kills from Redding and White. The Red Raiders closed the run with a block from Atwood and White on the left side that forced a Kansas timeout. The Jayhawks would recoup to win the set 25-18.
Kansas took control of the third early on, but Tech put together a 4-0 run midway through the frame, including an ace from freshman Emerson Solano. The Jayhawks closed out the match, hitting .389 for the final frame.
The Red Raiders will face another ranked opponent next Wednesday in Texas Tech's annual Dig Pink match against No. 24 Baylor. First serve from United Supermarkets Arena is slated for 6 p.m. on FOX Sports Southwest Plus.
Texas Tech took part in Kansas Volleyball's pediatric cancer awareness day by wearing gold shoe laces Saturday.
The Red Raiders' match against the Jayhawks was their second in a stretch of three straight matches against ranked opponents.
Saturday's match marked the midway point in the Big 12 season for the Red Raiders.
Tech has already won more sets in 2017 than in either of the previous two seasons.
Tech is one win from matching its 2015 overall and Big 12 win total.