Sept. 15, 1997

Texas Tech Looks to Bounce Back

South Carolina handed Texas Tech its first loss of the season Saturday in the championship of the 19th annual Four Points-Sheraton/Red Raider Classic. The Red Raiders, now 9-1 overall, turn their attention to next weekend (Sept. 19-20) when they will visit Colorado Springs, Colo. and compete in the U.S. Air Force Academy Volleyball Tournament. Teams competing include Denver, Air Force, Hofstra and William & Mary.

Weekend Recap: South Carolina wins Red Raider Classic with win over Texas Tech; Gamecocks hand Red Raiders first loss of season as Tech's Brande Brown named MVP while two other Raiders receive all-tourney honors

South Carolina volleyball coach and Texas Tech graduate Kim Hudson '82 made her return to Lubbock in style: by leading her Gamecocks to the 19th annual Four Points-Sheraton/Red Raider Classic championship with an 8-15, 15-6, 16-14, 15-13 victory against Texas Tech in the championship match.

Tech senior middle blocker Brande Brown was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, her second MVP honors of the season, while two other Red Raiders, junior setter Lisa Hilgers and sophomore outside hitter Courtney Putnam both earned all-tournament honors.

South Carolina (6-1) handed Texas Tech (9-1) its first loss of the season. After the first game, South Carolina looked like it would be in for a long evening as the Red Raiders won easily, 15-8. But South Carolina clamped down and came back to win games two and three at 15-6 and 16-14 respectively. The Gamecocks won took the match with a 15-13 victory in game four.

Tech outhit South Carolina .262 to .232 but couldn't get the job done. Junior Kristen Holmes led Tech with 16 kills while freshman Janelle Jones and junior Angela Cooper totaled 14 kills apiece. Hilgers led Tech with 55 assists and 26 digs. Crystal Moore and Heather Larkin totaled 20 kills apiece for South Carolina.

Four Points-Sheraton/Red Raider Classic
All-Tournament Team

Most Valuable Player: Brande Brown, MB, Texas Tech
All-Tournament Team: Lisa Hilgers, setter, Texas Tech; Courtney Putnam, outside hitter, Texas Tech; Ashley Edlund, setter, South Carolina; Dee Dee Fortman, middle blocker, South Carolina; Heather Larkin, middle blocker, South Carolina, Gina Calegari, outside hitter, Southwestern Louisiana.

Four Points-Sheraton/Red Raider Classic
Saturday's Results: Consolation Game: Southwestern Louisiana defeated Louisiana Tech 15-3, 8-15, 15-7, 15-7; Championship Game: South Carolina defeated TEXAS TECH 8-15, 15-6, 16-14, 15-13
Friday's Results: South Carolina defeated Louisiana Tech 15-5, 15-1, 15-7; TEXAS TECH defeated Southwestern Louisiana 15-3, 15-6, 16-14; South Carolina defeated Southwestern Louisiana 15-1, 15-3, 15-10; TEXAS TECH defeated Louisiana Tech 15-3, 15-10, 15-3

Tech defeats Southwestern Louisiana and Louisiana Tech on Friday: Senior middle blocker Brande Brown led Tech in its 15-3, 15-10, 15-3 victory against Lousiana Tech with a sterling 15 kill performance. The senior set a personal career record with a .737 hitting percentage (15-1-19), contributed five blocks (one solo) and six digs. Brown was followed by junior outside hitter Angela Cooper's 14 kills in 22 attempts (.591 attack percentage) and sophomore outside hitter Courtney Putnam's 12 kills. Junior setter Lisa Hilgers also dished out 39 assists and led the team with nine digs. Tech finished the nightcap with 56 kills and a .422 attack percentage and limited Louisiana Tech to only 32 kills and a .155 hitting percentage.

Nelson was impressed with the play of his Raiders in the team's second victory in the nightcap against Louisiana Tech because he felt Tech did not perform as well in a 15-3, 15-6, 16-14 win against Southwestern Louisiana in the afternoon match.

"The Louisiana Tech match was much better than our first," Nelson said. "We played really aggressive. We didn't want the pace of the game to slow down like we did earlier this afternoon. It was a much better effort. Brande (Brown) was back on track and was really fantastic tonight and Angela Cooper and Courtney Putnam hit some nice balls and did some good things and Janelle Jones really played well. It was a good team effort. At times, I was really excited about how well they did play because they really looked good."

The match also marked the return of senior outside hitter Cristine Martin. Martin was cleared to play by the NCAA on Tuesday after awaiting eight months on a decision to grant her a fifth year of eligibility. Martin played in only seven matches and 16 games as a freshman after undergoing two arthroscopic surgeries. Friday, Martin totaled two kills in four attempts against Southwestern Louisiana and finished with three kills in seven attempts against Louisiana Tech.

Team Notes

  • The loss to South Carolina snapped a nine-match Texas Tech winning streak. Last year, the Red Raiders went 15-0 before their first loss.
  • The six consecutive home wins to start off the season, before the South Carolina loss, was the second straight year that the Raiders have won their first six matches at home. Last year, the Raiders won their first eight home matches before losing to Colorado on Oct. 25.
  • The South Florida Tournament championship with the 35th all-time tournament victory by the Texas Tech volleyball program.
  • Junior setter Lisa Hilgers moved into second place on the all-time Texas Tech career assists leaders list. She surpassed Sheila Solomon (1987-90) in the first match of the weekend tournament against Louisiana Tech and now has 3,405 career assists. She needs only 193 more assists to break the record of 3,598 held by Ginger Carter (1991-94). At the rate she is going now, Hilgers should break the record sometime in the next 5-7 matches.

Starting Lineups: Following is the starting lineup totals for the Red Raiders: Courtney Putnam 10, Heather Hughes 10, Lisa Hilgers 10, Kristen Holmes 10, Brande Brown 9, Angela Cooper 10, Sonia Moric 1.

Player Notes

Courtney Putnam 1997: selected by coaches to Four Points-Sheraton/Red Raider Classic all-tournament team after registering 29 kills in 10 games ... registered career high in attack attempts (44) and tied career-high in kills (18) vs. South Florida ... Selected by coaches to Sheraton Shootout all-tournament team after totaling 42 kills, 13 blocks and a .305 attack percentage over four matches ... registered career-highs in kills (18), total attacks (37) and hitting percentage (18-2-37-.432) vs. Portland.

Heather Hughes 1997: started first 10 matches of her career in first three tournaments ... first freshman to start first 10 matches since Lisa Hilgers started as a freshman in 1995 ... totaled 20 digs in her first career invitational, the Sheraton Shootout.

Lisa Hilgers 1997: earned seventh career all-tournament team honor at Four Points-Sheraton/RRC ... moved into second place on all-time TTU career assists leaders list with 40 assists vs. SW Louisiana ... led RRC in assists (134) and digs (43) and ranked second in hitting percentage (.444) ... earned her sixth all-tournament individual honors at South Florida Tournament ... registered 67 assists and 21 digs vs. South Florida ... named to Sheraton Shootout all-tournament team after finishing with 151 assists and 15 kills on four weekend matches ... was her fifth all-tournament honor in her career ... finished with 11.62 asssists per game average in tournament ... surpassed 3,000-career assist mark in first game of season vs. Texas-San Antonio.

Kristen Holmes 1997: started all 10 matches ... finished with a .431 tournament hitting percentage (27-5-51) at Four Points-Sheraton/RRC ... totaled 16 kills in a career high 34 attacks vs. South Carolina ... had career-best hitting percentage (.818) vs. SW Louisiana (9-0-11) ... totaled career-high 20 digs vs. South Florida ... started all four games of Sheraton Shootout tournament and registered 10 digs vs. Portland ... hit .400 (6-2-10) against Texas-San Antonio.

Brande Brown 1997: earned MVP honors at Four Points-Sheraton/RRC after finishing the tournament with 34 kills in 75 attempts, 22 digs and 10 blocks in 10 games ... set career high hitting percentage (.737) with 15 kills and one error in 19 attempts vs. Louisiana Tech ... earned unanimous all-tournament honors at South Florida Tournament (her sixth all-tournament selection of her career) with 34 kills and six errors in 73 total attempts to go along with 20 total digs and nine total blocks (one solo) ... set career records for total attacks (60) and digs (18) vs. South Florida ... finished with seven kills in eight attempts (.875) vs. UT-Chattanooga ... Selected Most Valuable Player of the Sheraton Shootout after totaling 41 kills in 84 attempts over the four games ... hit .462 (7-1-13) vs. Texas-San Antonio and .481 (15-2-27) vs. SMU ... led tournament in blocks per game (1.46) ... registered 15 kills vs. SMU.

Cristine Martin 1997: made season debut in Four Points-Sheraton/RRC vs. Southwestern Louisiana on Sept. 12 after awaiting an NCAA decision to grant her a fifth year of eligibility.

Janelle Jones 1997: led Four Points-Sheraton/RRC in hitting percentage at .465 (22-2-43) ... totaled career highs in kills (14), total attacks (28) and hitting percentage (.464) vs. South Carolina ... registered seven kills in 25 attempts and four blocks vs. South Florida ... finished her first collegiate tournament with 20 kills in 40 attempts (.325 percentage) in reserve roll at Sheraton Shootout.

Sonia Moric 1997: started first match of her career vs. UT-Chattanooga and had eight kills in a career-high 15 attempts ... Finished with career highs in kills (nine) and attack percentage (.571) vs. Georgia Southern.

Angela Cooper 1997: finished with a .591 hitting percentage vs. Louisiana Tech (14-1-22) ... earned second all-tournament honors of her career at South Florida Tournament ... registered career highs in kills (25), attack attempts (58) and digs (18) vs. South Florida ... named to Sheraton Shootout all-tournament team, her first all-tournament honor of her collegiate career ... finished with a total of 31 kills in 76 attempts in those four matches ... totaled career-high 26 attack attempts vs. Portland and career-high 14 digs vs. Ohio.

1997 Team Match Highs

Kills: Most: 81 at South Florida 9/5; Least: 35 vs. Texas-San Antonio 8/29; Opponent most: 80 at South Florida 9/5; Opponent least: 17 vs. Georgia Southern 9/6

Attack errors: Most: 37 at South Florida 9/5; Least: 8 two times vs. Georgia Southern, Texas-San Antonio; Opponent most: 38 at South Florida 9/5; Opponent least: 13 two times vs. Georgia Southern and SW Louisiana

Total Attacks: Most: 233 at South Florida 9/5; Least: 63 vs. Georgia Southern 9/6; Opponent most: 243 at South Florida 9/5; Opponent least: 66 vs. Georgia Southern 9/6

Hitting Percentage: Best: .492 (39-8-63) vs. Georgia Southern 9/6; Worst: .189 (81-37-233) at South Florida 9/5; Opponent best: .232 (73-29-190) vs. South Carolina 9/13; Opponent worst: -.022 (24-26-89) vs. Texas-San Antonio 8/29

Assists: Most: 74 at South Florida 9/5; Least: 33 vs. Texas-San Antonio 8/29; Opponent most: 74 at South Florida 9/5; Opponent least: 14 vs. Georgia Southern 9/6

Digs: Most: 102 at South Florida 9/6; Least: 24 vs. Texas-San Antonio 8/29; Opponent most: 94 at South Florida, vs. South Carolina; Opponent least: 13 vs. Georgia Southern 9/6

Solo Blocks: Most: 6 vs. SMU 8/30; Least: 0 vs. Georgia Southern 9/6; Opponent most: 3 vs. Ohio 8/30; Opponent least: 0 seven times

Assist Blocks: Most: 22 at South Florida 9/5; Least: 4 three times; Opponent most: 16 at South Florida 9/5; Opponent least: 2 vs. Portland 8/29

Total Blocks: Most: 13 vs. Portland 8/30; Least: 2 vs. Georgia Southern 9/6; Opponent most: 9 at South Florida 9/5; Opponent least: 1.5 vs. Louisiana Tech 9/12


  • Senior Cristine Martin is eligible to compete after awaiting an NCAA decision which granted her a fifth year of volleyball eligibility. She was denied by the NCAA in her first attempt, but a stronger second appeal was approved by the NCAA. Martin played in seven matches and 16 games as a freshman after sustaining a knee injury and undergoing two arthroscopic surgeries. The Big XII Conference supported her 100 percent in her attempt to begin a fifth season. Martin, who currently holds Red Raider records for season service aces and career service aces, will now be able to build upon those records. She has been keeping in shape by practicing with the team until the decision was finalized Tuesday.
  • Senior Brande Brown returns to the squad for her fourth year of eligibility. Brown could have received her degree and moved on, but decided to return for her final year. She is also a former two-sport Tech athlete (track and field). How does she view her final season and what is she hoping to achieve?
  • Texas Tech recordholder and Academic All-American Jill Burness, along with Lacy Nye and Courtney Thames will not return to the 1997 volleyball squad. Who will fill their leadership roles on the team and what did the team gain from their losses (if anything)?
  • Junior setter, two-year starter, assists recordholder and squad co-captain Lisa Hilgers returns to Tech volleyball with some new, unfamiliar faces surrounding her. How does the team leader view the new season and what does she expect from the team?
  • Setter Lisa Hilgers has accomplished some outstanding feats in her short two-year career. It's amazing considering she's only 5-6- one of the smallest starting setters in the nation. Hilgers already holds records for season, game and average assists per game and will challenge school records for career assists, digs, matches played and games played. Head coach Jeff Nelson has been quoted many times referring to the fact that Hilgers is the one who led them to two consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (as a freshman also).
  • Coach Jeff Nelson expects sophomore Courtney Putnam to contribute in a big way this year with the loss of Burness as the team's top attacker. But only 12 months ago after seeing how good the other players were, Putnam was saying that she didn't deserve a scholarship. "If Jeff wants my scholarship back, he can have it because I know I'm not good enough," she said. Since then, the ultra-athletic Putnam has improved drastically and even led the team in kills through its summer competitions. Redshirt freshman Janelle Jones, who earned the team's most improved player award at last year's banquet, is also much improved and will help with the loss of Burness.
  • There's no doubt about it, 1996 Most Improved Player and redshirt freshman Janelle Jones definitely has some ups! At preseason testing, Jones reached and jumped 10-feet-four inches. With that type of reach, Jones should easily be able to dunk a basketball. Even though she says that she's never tried to dunk a basketball or a volleyball for that matter, she may only be one of three women on the Texas Tech campus to have the ability to dunk. Jones is also the tallest player ever in Texas Tech volleyball history at 6-foot-3 inches tall.
  • The 1997 Texas Tech volleyball team is youthful as it welcomes eight newcomers (two transfers and six freshmen). Coming from their diverse backgrounds and from all over the country, how do they view Texas Tech in their first few days of practice? The incoming Red Raiders represent six states including Texas (3), Arizona (1), New Mexico (1), Minnesota (1), Missouri (1) and Oklahoma (1). Two are transfer students in junior Natalie Rives (Samford) and sophomore Elizabeth Hamilton (South Carolina Aiken).
  • Head Coach Jeff Nelson is one of the most successful volleyball coaches ever in his first two years- and he's only getting started. He turned the Texas Tech program into a winner and has made it one of the most successful programs throughout the nation and tough Big XII Conference. But that is only his short-term goal. His long-term goal is to make the Red Raiders contenders for the national title year-in, year-out. His Red Raiders may be even closer to achieving that goal than he thinks. In addition, Nelson has contribute d to the rise of volleyball in Lubbock and has helped generate interest on the high school level.
  • The Tech volleyball team travelled to Itay over the summer to prepare for the 1997 season, compete against Italian squads and tour the sites. Tour stops included visits to London, Pisa, Rome, Venice, Milan, Florence and other cities. Read Coach Jeff Nelson's diary of the trip on the internet at www.texastech.com. How has that experience helped the team and how will that translate to success in the new season?
  • Junior Kristen Holmes is in her third year on the Texas Tech volleyball team and was selected as a co-captain for the season. But upon entering Texas Tech as a freshman, she wasn't even slated to play volleyball. In fact, while walking down to walk-on for the women's basketball team, Holmes made a stop at then-coach Mike Jones' office to walk-on to the volleyball team. The move paid off as Holmes is one of three returning starters on this year's team and will be expected to provide valuable leadership.


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