The West Virginia University volleyball team suffered a 3-0 setback to Big 12 foe Texas Tech in its 2020 season opener on Thursday evening, at the United Supermarkets Arena, in Lubbock, Texas. The Red Raiders (1-0) took the match from the Mountaineers (0-1) in set scores of 25-17, 25-23 and 25-22.
“I thought we had some good moments, but we were inconsistent, and that’s why we couldn’t score points,” sixth-year coach Reed Sunahara said. “We have to be better than what we showed tonight, especially from a hitting standpoint. I thought our passing was decent, and I thought we got better and better every set. Hopefully, we can use that and build momentum into tomorrow.”
A pair of Mountaineers finished the match in double figures. Senior middle blocker Briana Lynch, a 2020 All-Big 12 Preseason Team selection, paved the way for WVU with 11 kills on 22 attacks for .500 hitting efficiency. Junior outside hitter Natali Petrova also added 10 kills in her Mountaineer debut.
Additionally, redshirt senior middle blocker Audrey Adams notched eight kills on the evening, hitting .300, followed by sophomore middle blocker Emmy Ogogor with seven swings on 14 attacks for a .357 hitting percentage. Ogogor, a transfer from Illinois State, also donned the Old Gold and Blue for the first time.
Junior setter Lacey Zerwas dished out 16 of the Mountaineers’ 31 assists.
Defensively, senior libero Alexa Hasting and freshman outside hitter/defensive specialist Skye Stokes each dug 10 balls on the evening, followed by senior defensive specialist Lindsay Proctor with nine. Adams led the squad’s blocking efforts with four total blocks, while Lynch posted a pair of solo stops.
Stokes also served up an ace in her first career match as a Mountaineer.
WVU finished the contest hitting .198 with 42 kills and six total blocks.
West Virginia started off strong, scoring four straight points in set one, before Texas Tech rattled off six in a row for the 8-5 lead. Kills from junior outside hitter Kristin Lux and Adams brought WVU within one at 13-12. However, the Red Raiders used another scoring surge for the 17-12 lead, forcing the Mountaineers to take their final timeout of the frame. Lynch came up with a huge swing, followed by a solo block, to keep West Virginia within three at 20-17. WVU couldn’t hang on though, as TTU scored five in a row for the 25-17 first-set win and 1-0 match lead.
The teams traded points early in the second set before Adams and Ogogor teamed up for a Mountaineer block, trailing 19-18. Lux and Petrova put down a pair of kills to keep West Virginia within one at 21-20, but Texas Tech later capitalized off a Mountaineer miscue to reach set point at 24-21. Lynch and Petrova kept WVU’s hopes alive with back-to-back kills. However, TTU answered with a kill of its own to claim the 25-23 win and 2-0 lead in the match.
With the Mountaineers trailing the Red Raiders 20-15 late in the third, Adams came up with a huge swing following a West Virginia timeout to come within four. Texas Tech scored four of the next five points to reach match point at 24-17, but West Virginia rattled off five straight to put the score at 24-22. However, WVU couldn’t rally for the comeback, as TTU put down a kill for the 25-22 win and the 3-0 sweep.
The Mountaineers return to the court on Friday for another match against the Red Raiders. First serve is set for 7 p.m. ET inside United Supermarkets Arena. The contest will be carried live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
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