Provided by Texas Tech Athletics
MISSOULA, Mont. – Emily Ehrle dropped a career high 23 kills to help Texas Tech rebound from its first loss of the season and defeat Furman, 3-2 (25-15, 21-25, 25-19, 16-25, 15-12), Saturday morning in the West Auxiliary Gym.
The win pushes the Red Raiders (9-1) to a 1-1 start in the Best Western Grant Creek Inn Invitational heading into tonight's finale with host Montana.
Most importantly, it helps Tech avoid its first non-conference losing streak under head coach Don Flora, who improved to 23-3 in two seasons against out-of-league foes.
"It's clear this was a gut-check type match for our newcomers," Flora said. "We had an impact from numerous people throughout the match which shows our support for one another as teammates is at a high level. Our staff continues to be impressed with our offense."
Ehrle was instrumental in sparking the Tech offense that was without regular starting outside hitter Breeann David. On top her 23 kills, Ehrle was accurate from the field as well, finishing with a .432 hitting percentage with just four errors off 44 attacks.
It marked the first time a Red Raider had attempted 40 or more swings this season as Tech finished with its second-highest hitting percentage of the year thanks to a .295 average. Furman (8-2) hit .253 as a team, the highest average for an opponent in a Tech victory since Connecticut hit .277 on Aug. 27 last year.
Miara Cave and Meghan Stacy each recorded 11 kills each to help boost the Red Raider offense while Aubree Piper added nine from the middle. Emily Ruetter dished out a career-high 56 assists to go along with 11 digs from the back row, marking her fifth double-double of the season.
Ehrle and Stacy both dropped four kills in the deciding fifth set as the Red Raiders improved to 2-0 on the year and 4-3 under Flora when going to a fifth frame.
Tech went into the fifth coming off its worse set of the match as the Red Raiders combined to hit .034 in the frame alone thanks to just eight kills and seven attacking errors. Furman hit a match-high .481 in the fourth frame to extend the contest.
"We know we can continue to get better defensively, both blocking and digging balls," Flora added. "We have a lot of respect for Furman, so this was a very important victory."
Rachel Brummitt led the Tech back row with 20 digs, her fourth 20-dig performance of the season. Emily Wright also added 12 digs off the bench while Stacy posted 11 of her own as well for her third double-double already this season.
Chandler Ambrester dropped 23 kills to lead Furman, which hit .253 as a team. Natalie Braun and Amelia Bohlander added 19 and 11 kills for the Paladins as well. The loss dropped Fordham to 1-1 this weekend as the Paladins close the tournament against Towson this evening.
The Red Raiders close the tournament later this evening against host Montana. First serve is slated for 8 p.m. CT in the West Auxiliary Gym.