Freshman outside hitter Jordan Anderson’s 15 kills and 21 digs helped propel West Virginia to win a five-set thriller against Texas Tech (25-13, 19-25, 26-24, 25-23, 16-14) and end her team’s slide in the Big 12 Conference Saturday afternoon in the WVU Coliseum.
Anderson’s ninth double-double of the season ends a four-game skid for the Mountaineers and opens the second half of Big 12 play with a win.
Saturday’s win against the Red Raiders marks the first time in WVU volleyball history a Big 12 opponent has been swept by the Mountaineers.
“Every person on the team stepped up at a different time during the match. The girls have really worked to be aggressive at crunch time, and they were aggressive at crunch time today. It’s nice to see it pay off for them today. I am really proud of them,” said head coach Jill Kramer.
Kramer and her team are now 3-0 when it comes to five-set matches.
“I think it says how well-conditioned we are as a team. When we are deep in matches we still have high energy, and it shows how aggressive we stay during the match,” said sophomore outside hitter Nikki Attea.
West Virginia came out in strong in the first set behind Attea’s four kills and three digs. The WVU defense held Texas Tech at a .000 hitting clip while the Mountaineers only recorded three errors in the set and hit .375. The Red Raiders ended the first set on four straight unforced errors.
Seven errors doomed West Virginia in the second set, as Texas Tech went on to even the match at 1-1. Tech’s senior Aubree Piper led the way with four kills in the second set.
After the break, sophomores Hannah Sackett and Caleah Wells stepped up to help their team get back into the match. Sackett and Piper exchanged kills in the early stages of the third set before two errors from the Red Raiders finally gave WVU the led. Tied late at 24-24, Wells connected with setter Brittany Sample two straight times to clinch the set 26-24.
Despite trailing 3-10 early in the fourth set, the Mountaineers fought back to within one at 23-24. Texas Tech settled down after head coach Don Flora called his final timeout and after a service error by WVU, Meghan Stacy forced a fifth set by connecting with a Emily Ruetter.
In the decisive fifth set, the Mountaineers trailed Texas Tech at 14-13. After a service error from the Red Raiders evened the score at 14, Anderson came up with a huge kill to give her team match point. Sample and freshman Hannah Shreve combined to block Jenna Allen’s strike and gave WVU its third Big 12 win of the season.
West Virginia took Saturday’s match without the services of their best middle blocker, junior Evyn McCoy. McCoy suffered an apparent ankle injury in practice this week but is expected to be back with the team today.
In McCoy’s absence, Wells had one of her strongest matches of the year. The Red Oak, Texas, native finished her afternoon with 13 kills and three blocks.
“Caleah struggled the last couple matches. We weren’t giving her the ball enough. We got her involved early in the match, (and) when we do that she lights it up. It was good to see her do that again,” Kramer said.
Kramer said she also credited the crowd of 684 in their win Saturday.
“I thought our crowd was great. It was nice to see that again. They got on their feet at the right times today,” she said.
The Mountaineers will now take to the road for two Big 12 matches this week. WVU will visit Kansas Wednesday and travel to Kansas State Saturday.