West Virginia volleyball opened its final home series of the season with a loss to Texas Tech in four sets, 25-22, 25-18, 25-20, 26-24.
WVU struggled offensively, finishing with a hitting percentage of just .158 with nine serving errors. This loss came at an inopportune time for the Mountaineers as they wrestle for the third seed in the Big 12 standings with three games to go in the season.
“We didn’t show up. Tech played well,” said WVU coach Reed Sunahara. “Hats off to them, but we made too many mistakes.”
West Virginia opened the first set by getting a four-point lead, opening a see-saw on the scoreboard. The Red Raiders pulled off a massive run at the end of the set, though, and earned it off an attacking error by the Mountaineers.
The Mountaineers controlled the second set, building a seven-point lead and holding the Red Raiders off. They got the same treatment from their opponents in set three, as the Red Raiders kept off a WVU comeback to earn a comfortable win.
WVU built an early lead in the fourth and final set, but Texas Tech came back to fight back and make it a back-and-forth contest. The two teams stayed within a point until Texas Tech began to pull away at 17-17, but the Mountaineers fought back to push the match point.
TTU’s Kenna Sauer and WVU’s Adrian Ell led the game with 18 kills each, while Sauer paced the match with 20 points on the night. Ell added 18.5 for the Mountaineers, while WVU’s Briana Lynch followed with 12. Kristen Lux was WVU’s final double-digit scorer with 10 points.
“Hopefully [our players] go home and watch some film on themselves and figure out, hey, this is what Tech’s defense is doing, and what we can do from an offensive standpoint,” Sunahara said. “We’ve got to be better students of the game and we’ve got to make sure that we take care of the ball tomorrow.”
West Virginia holds on to the 4-seed in the Big 12 despite the loss, sitting a game behind Iowa State, which has two more wins with two more games played than WVU. Texas Tech’s seeding also remains unchanged, but they are right in the Mountaineers’ rear view mirror, and could come even with WVU if they pull off the sweep.
The Mountaineers and the Red Raiders square off again on Friday at 6 p.m. in WVU’s home finale.