MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A season-high 18 team blocks led the West Virginia University volleyball team to a five-set win over Texas Tech, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown. The Mountaineers (12-12, 3-7) took the win, which stopped a six-match Big 12 losing streak, over the Red Raiders (10-15, 0-10) in set scores of 21-15, 25-13, 21-25, 29-27 and 18-16.
“It’s a good start to the second half of our season,” said WVU coach Reed Sunahara. “Anytime you can win in the Big 12, that’s important. That’s our goal every match. Tonight, our kids were resilient. I thought Texas Tech played well this afternoon. We didn’t break down when the match was on the line. Hat’s off to our kids. I’m proud of them.”
Swanegan also tied her career high with 13 kills in the match, hitting a team-best .320 in the process.
Caffrey recorded her 11th double-double of the season, leading the Mountaineers with 23 kills and 12 digs. She also hit .246 in the match, and is now tied for second in the Big 12 in double doubles.
Montgomery hit .320 with seven kills, while Evans also had seven to go with a trio of service aces. Shreve had six kills and finished with an attacking percentage of .286. The Mountaineers hit .205 as a team with 61 kills.
Slinde set a career high with 49 assists in the match as Haley Roe
led the floor defense with 16 digs and is now just four away from 1,000. In addition to Gotterba and Caffrey, Taylor Cross
finished in double digits with 11 digs while Slinde added eight. Evans tallied four digs as Gabrielle Cuckovich
chipped in three. Gotterba and Cuckovich each had a service ace as well.
The Mountaineers hit. 226 in the first set, led by four kills from Caffrey. An early 4-0 run by the Red Raiders gave them a 7-5 lead before a Swanegan kill ended the run. Another TTU run withstood a WVU timeout to put four more points on the board for a 16-10 Red Raider lead. The teams traded service errors, followed by a Shreve kill as the Mountaineers came within three at 22-19. Caffrey later found the court to extend the set with TTU at set point, but the Red Raiders used a kill for the 25-21 win.
Looking to even the score of the match, WVU traded points with TTU in the second set, trailing 7-5 after an attacking error. The Mountaineers then used a pair of Caffrey kills to score five in a row for a 10-7 lead. From there, the squad never looked back. Slinde paired with Swanegan and Shreve on a pair of blocks as WVU rattled off four more in a row to take a 19-10 advantage. A kill from Caffrey started another 5-0 run that ended the set with a 25-12 Mountaineer win to tie the match 1-1.
Unfortunately, West Virginia was unable to maintain its momentum in the third set, hitting just .114 to Texas Tech’s .303. The duo of Swanegan and Slinde posted a pair of blocks as the Mountaineers took an 11-10 lead. The Red Raiders took three in a row to go ahead 14-10 before a WVU timeout ended their short run. Caffrey added a pair of kills while Swanegan and Slinde teamed for another block, but it wasn’t enough as Texas Tech claimed the 25-21 win for a 2-1 lead in the match.
Caffrey had six kills in the fourth frame as the Mountaineers’ hit .231 to force a fifth set for the seventh time this season. A kill from Montgomery, along with a Cuckovich ace and a Texas Tech attacking error put the Mountaineers on top 12-11. However, the team’s traded points to tie the set at 20-20 before a 3-0 WVU run put West Virginia in front, 23-20 after a Caffrey kill. The Red Raiders came within one before Swanegan and Slinde had a block to bring up set point with a 24-22 Mountaineer lead. The Red Raiders came back to tie the set, 24-24 before a kill from Swanegan put WVU on top again at 25-24. An ace and pair of service errors later, the two were tied again 27-27. A block by Montgomery and Shreve brought up set point again before Evans registered an ace for the 29-27 triumph.
The Red Raiders jumped out to a 6-3 lead on a kill before Coach Sunahara used a timeout. The Mountaineers came out of the stoppage with a Swanegan kill, later coming within one point at 8-7 on a kill from Caffrey. Another Swanegan kill and a TTU ball handling error gave WVU an 11-10 advantage, but Texas Tech came back to take back the lead on a block, 12-11. A kill had the Red Raiders serving match point with a 14-13 lead, but Evans found the court to tie the set. TTU served match point once more with a 15-14 lead, but again West Virginia stayed alive on a Montgomery kill. A pair of Texas Tech errors would give West Virginia the opportunity to serve match point up 17-16, and a block from Caffrey and Swanegan put the set away, 18-16, to hand the Mountaineers the 3-2 victory.
Lauren Douglass, Sarah Redding and Toni McDougald each had 13 kills for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders hit .155 with 58 kills and 11 team blocks. The Mountaineers are now 2-0 against TTU this season.
West Virginia travels to Ames, Iowa, on Wednesday to face Iowa State in Big 12 action. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m. ET inside Hilton Coliseum.