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1996 Texas Tech Women Volleyball Outlook

The 1996 Texas Tech seniors are in an unusual setting: they've said good-bye to a grand old league: the Southwest Conference. Their next appearance will be in volleyball rich Big 12 Conference.

Rhodes Scholar candidate Jill Burness, who is also being touted for All-America honors, perhaps sums up the aura of the new Big 12. "I'm extremely excited for Texas Tech volleyball this fall. We have an excellent opportunity to prove ourselves against tough opponents in the Big 12. I'll be looking all the way to the top -- we have an excellent team and with the giant strides we made last spring, there's no stopping us!"

Cristine Martin, Lacy Nye and Courtney Thames concur, but also point out the necessity of getting off to a quick start. "By getting off to a quick start, we hope to re-establish the momentum and confidence we had late last year," says Thames. Nye feels a quick start is "crucial in maintaining team confidence after losing seniors who made such an impact on last year's performance."

Burness stresses "each returning player knows how close we were against Florida and how hard we have to play every match. To continue that momentum, we need to start well and set a standard for ourselves."

The Big 12 could be the premier conference, especially in volleyball, in the nation. Tech seniors feel that at least the top six in the Big 12 will have their season extended.

"A team must win all its home matches and perhaps lose one ... maybe two .. on the road to win the Big 12," says Burness. " With the stiff competition, a team does not have to win all 20 matches. In terms of losses to reach the NCAAs, I'm not sure, but I'm guessing at least six teams from the Big 12 will earn playoff berths."

Martin feels "the Big 12 is going to be very competitive, but as far as league championship probably only 2 or 3 losses will determine the winner. I think that at least the top six tams will get NCAA spots because the Big 12 is going to have so many good teams."

Thames also thinks the champion will lose three or less. "I feel several teams will split series. As far as NCAA spots within the Big 12 will get eight, because it is a power conference."

Nye admits the Raiders are "trying not to think about losing. I believe that if we have 20 wins and win matches against ranked teams, any losses we might encounter won't have as big of an affect on our season.

Final 1995 Poll
(USA Today/AVCA)
Rk.     Team          W-L     Pts      LW
  1.    Nebraska     32- 1   1,450      2
  2.    Texas        28- 7   1,391      4
  3.    Stanford     29- 3   1,327      1
  4.    Michigan St. 34- 3   1,282      3
  5.    Hawaii       31- 1   1,212      5
  6.    Florida      35- 2   1,166      6
  7.    UCLA         23- 9   1,099      7
  8.    Penn State   27- 8     993      8
  9.    Ohio State   22- 8     963      9
10.     Oral Roberts 30- 3     927     10
11.     Arizona St.  19- 8     881     11
12.     Southern Cal 18- 9     818     12
13.     San Diego St.27- 5     720     13
14.     Notre Dame   27- 7     673     14
15.     Texas A&M    23- 7     638     15
16.     Illinois     24- 9     582     16
17.     Wash. St.    22- 7     534     17
18.     UC-SB        26- 9     460     18
19.     Pacific      21- 9     429     19
20.     Long Beach St22-10     356     20
21      Loyola Mary. 24- 5     266     21
22.     Ga. Tech     29- 7     235     22
23.     BYU          21- 9     174     23
24.     Northern Iowa29- 2     131     24
25.     Texas Tech   21-12      39     NR

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