Red Raiders postseason run ends with loss to Ole Miss in NIVC title match

No matter the outcome, Texas Tech volleyball coach Tony Graystone admitted there was no way to put a negative spin on the result following a Tuesday road matchup against Ole Miss in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship title game.

Despite an 11-kill performance from Chandler Atwood, the Red Raiders did not have enough firepower to contend as the Rebels earned a 25-17, 25-15, 25-19 sweep inside the Gillom Athletics Performance Center in Oxford, Miss.

“We’re definitely disappointed. This isn’t what we came here for,” Texas Tech volleyball coach Tony Graystone said. “But it’s not going to take the shine off of what we’ve done and how far we’ve come this year. … Ole Miss played better than us tonight, and they deserved it.”

With the loss, Texas Tech ended its breakthrough season with an overall record of 19-15, which marked the program’s most wins since 2000. In their first postseason appearance since 2001, the Red Raiders advanced to the program’s first postseason title match.

Texas Tech’s magical postseason run was fueled by a strong attack led by Atwood and Emily Hill. The sophomore combo had accounted for 60 percent of the Red Raiders kill total going into Tuesday night’s tilt.

Hill was one of three players — along with Sarah Redding and Katy Keenan — to finish with five kills on the night.

Junior setter Missy Owens, who had supplied the Red Raiders offense with plenty of scoring chances throughout the postseason push, was limited to 25 assists in the loss to the Rebels.

“Chandler got it going, offensively, at the end of the match,” Graystone said. “I thought her block, overall, wasn’t bad. Missy and Kate were what they’ve been all along. We just didn’t have enough there, consistently, to get it done.”

On the other side of the net, Emily Stroup led the way with 17 kills and 11 digs followed by Lexi Thompson and Kate Gibson who each added nine kills.

Jordan Fate and Lauren Bars combined for 36 assists.

The Rebels ended their season with the program’s first-ever postseason title.

“We were so out of sorts in that first set,” Graystone said. “A lot of passing errors that we don’t normally make. Just dumb mistakes that we just don’t make. And then their pressure was really forcing the action. Things got away from us early and we were in catch-up mode the whole time. They just found a way to keep that pressure on us and force us into those mistakes.”


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