LUBBOCK, Texas – On a night where Rachel Brummitt snapped her own single-season school record for digs, it was Texas Tech’s defensive presence as a whole that paved the way for the Red Raiders in a 3-1 victory (25-20, 21-25, 27-25, 25-13) over Kansas State Wednesday evening at the United Spirit Arena.
The Red Raiders (9-18; 2-9) had six players in double figures for digs and three double-doubles en route to defeating K-State (15-8; 3-7) at home for the second-straight year. Tech had not previously defeated K-State in consecutive seasons since winning four matches from 1998-01.
“It was a great overall performance from this team tonight,” Tech head coach Don Flora said. “I thought our defensive effort was right where we needed it to be and it showed. Then, we picked up some quality kills in key moments and that was a big difference in what I’d consider a big victory tonight.”
Brummitt led the Red Raider defense that out-dug K-State, 81-70, in the match as she totaled 21 from the libero position, her 14th match with at least 20 digs this year.
The performance moved her season digs total to 520 with five matches still remaining, which is already 10 digs more than her record-setting total from a year ago that snapped Melissa McGehee’s previous record of 448 from the 2000 season.
“It is another tremendous accomplishment for Rachel,” Flora said. “For her to break that record so early in the conference season is a testament to her hard work and effort this entire season. She’s really the one our defense looks for in key situations and she really delivered tonight.”
Tech’s defense took its biggest stand late in the third set when the Red Raiders appeared destined to trail 2-1 in the match thanks to a 23-18 K-State lead. The Red Raiders fired back with a 5-0 run to tie the match and then, after trading two points with the Wildcats, picked up consecutive kills from Jenna Allen and Aubree Piper to win the frame and put K-State on the brink.
The Red Raiders closed the third set on a 9-2 run and then continued to dominate into the fourth with a 7-1 lead early. Tech limited K-State to just six kills in the final set alone.
Allen finished with a match-high 23 kills off 63 swings, the most for a Red Raider this season, while also totaling 11 digs for her fifth double-double this year. It was her third 20-kill performance this season in just 11 matches as she was one kill shy of her career high.
Allen joined Emily Ruetter and Aubree Piper with double-doubles as Ruetter totaled 52 assists and 11 digs while Piper connected on 10 kills to go along with a career-high 10 digs. It was Piper’s first career double-double and the ninth this season for Ruetter.
Nicole Hragyil and Emily Wright also recorded 11 digs for the Red Raiders on the back row, while on the attack, Meghan Stacy continued her strong play over her career against K-State, totaling 15 kills and five blocks.
Stacy hit .364 overall with just three errors off 33 attacks for a Red Raider offense that collected a .224 hitting percentage as a team, its highest average during Big 12 play this season. She has finished in double figures for kills in three of her four career matches against the Wildcats.
K-State, meanwhile, was held to a .144 attacking percentage after totaling just 48 kills, 13 of which that came off the arm of Courtney Traxson. Chelsea Keating and Dakota Kaufan added nine kills each as well from setter Katie Brand, who dished out 41 assists to go along with a team-high 18 digs.
Tech totaled 62 kills as team to improve to 28-4 all-time under Flora when leading its opponent in the category. The Red Raiders are also now 34-3 under Flora when posting a higher hitting percentage as well.
The Red Raiders will have to wait a week before trying to build off the win as Tech does not return to the court again until next Wednesday evening at Baylor. First serve is slated for 7 p.m. at the Ferrell Center.