Texas Tech’s volleyball team has two good offensive players but Wednesday night, the Red Raiders faced a Missouri team that has many.
The Tigers beat Texas Tech at Hearnes Center 30-20, 30-15, 26-30, 30-20 with four players in double figures in kills. The Red Raiders had two players combine for 37 kills but no other player had more than four.
“Their outside hitters are really good but we just had to focus on controlling them,” junior Lisa Boyd said. “But their main focus couldn’t be on one player. We have a lot of players that can step up in any given game.”
The win was enough to keep the Tigers (12-5 overall, 7-3 Big 12 Conference) tiedfor third place in the Big 12 halfway through the conference season. Coming into Wednesday’s matches, Missouri, Kansas State and Texas A&M were tied for third at 6-3. KSU beat Baylor 3-0 while A&M played at Colorado late.
Junior middle blocker Lisa Boyd had 18 kills and a .552 hitting percentage to lead the Tigers. Outside hitters Jessica Vander Kooi, 17 kills, and Shen Danru, 14, along with middle blocker Nicole Wilson, 13, also finished with double figures. Junior setter Lindsey Hunter added six kills, one shy of her career high, and 57 assists.
“We were just hitting on all sides (Wednesday),” Vander Kooi said. “Our middles did a good job getting off early.”
Boyd came into the match second in the Big 12 with a .378 hitting percentage, a mark on which she improved. She said becoming an offensive threat was one of her offseason priorities.
“That’s something that we worked on all spring,” Boyd said. “The quickness, the sets we can run and Hunter does a good job of seeing where the blockers are and setting one-on-one.”
For Texas Tech (7-9, 3-7), senior outside hitter Kelly Johnson had 22 kills but it took 64 attacks and she committed 11 errors. Kiley Lyons had 15 kills but also nine errors. As a team, the Red Raiders hit only .145 for the match, compared to .357 for the Tigers.
“We knew that their big hitter was Kelly Johnson, so we knew we just had to control her,” Vander Kooi said.
Associate coach Wayne Kreklow said that because MU knew Johnson, who was an All-Big 12 player in 2002, liked to hit cross-court, the team focused on blocking her attacks to the far side.
“They just set (Johnson) everywhere,” Kreklow said. “She’ll hit line if you give her too much, but her favorite is to really whale on it cross-court.”
Texas Tech came into the match hitting only .114 in Big 12 play, worst in the conference. It took the Tigers a while to take advantage, however. The Red Raiders kept it close in Game 1 until a 12-4 Tiger run made the score 28-18.
But after only committing three errors in Game 1, Texas Tech made three errors in the second game’s first eight points and hit just .049 overall.
After spotting the Red Raiders a 3-0 lead, MU reeled off six straight points on its way to a 30-12 run to end the game.
The third game was an aberration compared to the others. MU hit only .190 and Tech used a late 7-2 run to win the game. Kreklow said the Tigers gave Texas Tech too many points.
“Out of those 30 points (Texas Tech won in Game 3), almost half of them were what we call unforced errors,” Kreklow said. “Bad serves, net violations, not hitting blocks, but hitting balls out-of-bounds or in the net. Those are free points, and…if you do that to anybody in this conference, you’re going to be in trouble.”