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Sept. 1, 1997

Quoting Texas Tech Volleyball Coach Jeff Nelson

Opening Comments: "We had a good weekend and got off to a great start. We got rolling right away and played a great match against Texas-San Antonio and won in three games. We had some great performances from Courtney Putnam, a sophomore in her first starting role. Brande Brown, our one returning senior, had a great match as well. We played a little bit nervous which was to be expected. We have almost all newcomers in the lineup and had a little bit of jitters. But overall, we're more athletic than we have been in the past and we got through the tournament only dropping one game. For the tournament, Brande Brown had a great tournament. She was named MVP and did some outstanding things for us and picked up where she left off last year. Then we saw some good performances from first year starters Angela Cooper and Courtney Putnam. Lisa Hilgers also had an outstanding tournament for us leading the tournament in digs and hitting percentage which is highly unusual for a setter. Overall, we were extremely pleased with what happened. We found a lot of things we need to work on and we're going to get right back to that. We've got some things to identify. We have a much tougher schedule this weekend. We have Tennessee-Chattanooga who won 20 games last year and we have South Florida who was 27-5 and made the final sixteen last year. Things are going to pick up fast for us. We're excited about that. It will definitely be our first test. South Florida is a team that is dominated by outside hitting which should be a good matchup for us- it has been in the past. It's a really big match early on in terms of important matches for NCAAs. One of the things I'm most excited about this year's team is that since we have so many new players and so many new starters, it's just going to get better and better. It was a great first weekend- we're ready to roll and go out there and hopefully win a tournament and hopefully come back here for our Four Points Classic hopefully still undefeated."

On the importance of gaining experience leading into South Florida: "It was really important. We have a lot of players, in terms of volleyball, who really inexperienced. A lot of volleyball players play club and high school and are really experienced coming in. We've got Janelle Jones, Courtney Putnam and Angela Cooper out there playing and really none of them have had that experience and this is the first time they're playing at that high level. They're relying on athleticism to get them through, so I think they need that confidence. Every time they can step on the court, they get better. South Florida is a senior dominated team- they return five starters from last year's NCAA tournament team so we're really going to have our hands full but our blocking was very good this weekend- it will need to be to beat them. Hopefully those things will give us the confidence."

On the momentum of four victories this weekend going into the South Florida tournament: "We always expect to win at home. It's important- we've been able to win at home in the past and it's important to set the tone and get right on track to start the new season. I think from that standpoint, it's very important. The one thing we really got out of this weekend is that a couple times, we didn't give some of the teams the respect they deserved and they snuck up on his a little bit and kind of put our backs against the wall for a short period of time. We learned that we have to be a little more intense and a little more focused all the way through and probably give some of these teams some more respect. That was a good lesson. We played two really good matches and two matches that I thought were just a little bit slow and sloppy this weekend. Maybe we didn't understand what our opponents were capable of. We learned that and we're ready to spend some time focusing on South Florida this weekend."

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