LUBBOCK, Texas – Big performances from junior Sarah Redding and senior Kate Klepetka helped Texas Tech volleyball rally to a 3-2 win over Kansas State Saturday at United Supermarkets Arena.
Redding came up with two of her match-high 14 kills down the stretch and Klepetka tallied a season-high 32 digs along with five service aces as the Red Raiders (14-9, 3-7) avenged a five-set loss from three weeks ago in Manhattan with the 25-18, 17-25, 17-25, 25-23, 15-12 victory.
Tech flipped the script from its prior matchup against the Wildcats (9-14, 2-8) in which the Red Raiders led 2-1 before falling in five. It marks Tech’s first victory after trailing 2-1 since 2015 and its fourth come-from-behind win of the season.
“Their block was incredible just like we thought it was going to be, and they did so much to influence our hitters, but we just found a way,” head coach Tony Graystone said. “You look at the effort, you look at how we handled pressure points and how our serve came together at the end. Those last three points, we knew if we could side out and get to Kate’s serve, they were having a real hard time with that all day. We found that side out and sure enough she goes back and serves two in-a-row and we close it out.”
With the absence of setter Missy Owens for the third straight match, junior Kyndal Cowan stepped up with a career-day in assists with 43 and digs with 17, recording her first career double-double. Sophomore Emily Hill also posted a double-double with 12 kills and 18 digs while sophomore Chandler Atwood also finished in double figures with 10 kills.
Kansas State had four players in double figures. Bryna Vogel led the team with 12 kills and 29 digs, while Macy Flowers led a strong Wildcat effort at the net with 13 blocks.
HOW IT HAPPENED…
After a back-and-forth start to the first set, the Red Raiders exploded out of the media timeout, going on an 11-3 run to close the frame and gain a 1-0 advantage. Redding connected on five kills in the set, including four during Tech’s run. Senior Kate Klepetka held down the back row with seven digs in the set that helped limit the Wildcats to .067 hitting. After back-to-back kills from Redding made it 23-18, Klepetka closed the set with consecutive aces.
The Wildcats used a couple of early runs to gain a 20-10 lead in the second, but Tech wouldn’t go quietly, closing the lead to six three times before K-State took the set to even the match at 1-1.
The Red Raiders came out stronger in the third set, tying the set at 6-6 after a big kill at the net by freshman Allison White. Tech trailed just 14-11 before K-State found its rhythm offensively, hitting .439 in the frame to stretch its lead and take the set.
Tech came out firing in the fourth set, taking early leads of 8-2 and then 11-3. Tech led by as many as 10 in the frame before K-State shaved the gap to one at 22-21. A kill by Keenan and a Wildcat error gave Tech set point at 24-21, and a net error by K-State would send it to a fifth set.
Tech jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the deciding set thanks to a pair of kills from Atwood, an ace by Klepetka and a blast from Redding.Hill’s 13th kill of the match gave Tech an 11-8 lead, but KSU would come back to tie the set at 12-12. Following a Tech timeout, Redding put Tech back in front 13-12 and a bad set gave Tech match point. Klepetka would finish it off with her fifth ace of the night to seal the victory.
Tech’s 14th win of the season matches its most since 2011. It’s third Big 12 win matches its most since 2006.
The win is Tech’s first over Kansas State since 2013, breaking a seven-match skid to the Wildcats.
The win is Tech’s first of the Graystone era in which it was outhit.
The Red Raiders improve to 7-3 at home this season and 3-3 at home in Big 12 play.
Setter Missy Owens missed her third straight match with an injury. The junior ranks second in the Big 12 at 11.06 assists per set this season.
For the first time this season and second time in Graystone’s coaching career, Tech ran a 6-2 with junior Tita Akiu running as the team’s second setter with backup setter Kyndal Cowan.
Senior Kate Klepetka made her 11th straight appearance as the libero.
The Red Raiders get some time off before heading to Austin to take on No. 3 Texas next Saturday, Nov. 4, at 2 p.m. on Longhorn Network.