Sept. 22, 1997

Raiders Begin Big 12 Season

Weekend Recap

Red Raiders dominate Air Force Falcon Classic as Brande Brown earns third tournament MVP honors of year and ties NCAA record for hitting percentage in a match with a perfect 1.000 (10-0-10) performance

Texas Tech needed only 12 games and used .300-plus hitting in each of its four matches to win its third tournament title of the season at the Air Force Classic this past weekend in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Red Raiders defeated the likes of Denver (15-7, 15-3, 15-7), Air Force (15-12, 15-1, 15-10), Hofstra (15-6, 15-6, 15-3) and William & Mary (15-3, 15-3, 15-2) in consecutive games. The title marked head coach Jeff Nelson's eighth tournament title.

Senior middle blocker Brande Brown was named the tournament Most Valuable Player and led the Raiders with outstanding performances in all four matches. In the final match against William & Mary, Brown tied an all-time NCAA record and set a new Texas Tech record for hitting percentage in a match with a perfect 1.000 percentage (10 kills in 10 attempts, 0 errors). She totaled those numbers over only two games but needed to play the extra third game for the record to stand with the NCAA. Nelson inserted her into the lineup for one play in game three to get the game played.

Other key performances for Brown included a-19 kill, .464 hitting percentage against Denver and a 14-kill performance against Air Force. For the weekend, Brown finished with 47 kills (13 errors) in 71 total attempts for a .442 tournament attacking percentage.

Junior setter Lisa Hilgers and senior outside hitter Cristine Martin both were selected to the all-tournament team by the invitational's five coaches. Martin started her first four matches of the season since getting clearance by the NCAA for a fifth year of competition eligibility.

The Raiders also received key performances from two freshmen Heather Hughes and Janelle Jones. Hughes served home five aces on the weekend and contributed key defensive play while Jones proved to be the

Air Force Falcon Classic All-Tournament Team
Most Valuable Player: Brande Brown, senior middle blocker, Texas Tech

All-Tournament Team: Lisa Hilgers, junior setter, Texas Tech; Cristine Martin, senior outside hitter, Texas Tech

Air Force Falcon Classic Tech Results
Saturday's Results:

TEXAS TECH defeated Denver 15-7, 15-3, 15-7; TEXAS TECH defeated Air Force 15-12, 15-1, 15-10.

Friday's Results
TEXAS TECH defeated Hofstra 15-6, 15-6, 15-3; TEXAS TECH defeated William & Mary 15-3, 15-3, 15-2.

Hilgers to break assists record this weekend
Junior setter Lisa Hilgers will break the Texas Tech all-time career assists record sometime this weekend when the Raiders open Big XII Conference play at Missouri and Iowa State. Hilgers, who is in second place on the list, finished this past weekend with 3,555 career assists. She needs just 44 more assists to pass Ginger Carter's 3,598 career assists set from1991-1994. Since Hilgers is averaging 36.84 assists per match, she should earn all-time honors this weekend. Hilgers passed Sheila Solomon (3,307) on the list against Louisiana Tech in the Red Raider Classic.

Team Notes

  • The 12-0 game record (four match wins) at the Air Force Classic marked the third time in Texas Tech history that the Red Raiders have won a tournament without losing a game.
  • 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 Air Force Falcon tournament championship was the 36th all-time tournament title by the Texas Tech volleyball program.
  • Tech has hit over .300 in its last four straight victories.
  • Head coach Jeff Nelson has won eight tournament titles in his three years at Texas Tech.
  • Tech has needed only three games to win 11 of its 13 matches.
  • Tech has a 40-6 game record and is 12-2 in game one, 13-1 in game two, 13-1 in game three, 1-2 in game four and 1-0 in rally game five.
  • The Red Raiders have outscored its opponents 669-341 in total points.

Starting Lineups
Following is the starting lineup totals for the Red Raiders: Courtney Putnam 14, Heather Hughes 14, Lisa Hilgers 14, Angela Cooper 14, Brande Brown 13, Kristen Holmes 10, Cristine Martin 4, Sonia Moric 1.

Player Notes

Cristine Martin
1997: earned Air Force Falcon Classic all-tournament honors after starting her first four matches of the season ... hit .400 (8-2-15) and had six digs vs. William & Mary ... totaled team-high eight kills in 16 attempts and seven digs vs. Hofstra ... started first match vs. Denver and recorded eight kills in 23 attempts and seven kills ... 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: hit .462 (7-1-13) and totaled five total blocks vs. William & Mary ... 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: hit .500 (7-0-14) vs. Air Force ... 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.

Courtney Putnam
1997: hit .450 (10-1-20) and had four digs and five blocks vs. Air Force ... 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: totaled five total service aces and 16 digs at four-match Air Force Falcon Classic ... 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 eighth career all-tournament honors at Air Force Falcon Classic after leading Tech to title in four victories ... totaled 47 assists vs. Air Force ... earned all-tournament team honors 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 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 ... 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 10 of the first 14 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: tied NCAA all-time match hitting percentage record, Texas Tech school record and personal-best record with a 1.000 performance (10-0-10) vs. William & Mary ... earned MVP honors for the third time on season and seventh time in career at Air Force Falcon Classic after hitting .442 (47-13-71) and finished with 10 total blocks and 17 digs on weekend ... finished with 14 kills in 20 attempts and 11 digs vs. Air Force (.500) ... finished with 19 kills in 28 attempts and four blocks vs. Denver (464) ... 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

  • 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.

    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: 14 vs. William & Mary 9/20

    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: 63 vs. William & Mary 9/20

    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: -.048 (14-17-63) vs. William & Mary 9/20

    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: 13 vs. William & Mary 9/20

    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 and William & Mary 9/20

    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

    Martin granted fifth year of eligibility
    Texas Tech volleyball senior Cristine Martin was granted a fifth year of eligibility by the National Collegiate Athletic Association Tuesday, September 9. Martin, who suffered through two arthroscopic surgeries during her freshman year, played in seven matches and 16 games as a freshman.

    She was denied by the NCAA in her first attempt at a fifth year of eligibility, but a stronger appeal was approved on Tuesday.

    "The addition of Cristine solidifies our team," Texas Tech head coach Jeff Nelson said. "She brings leadership and talent to the outside hitter position. When she came here, she was probably the most experienced player on the team with several years of club experience at a high level."

    Texas Tech volleyball team slated to play USA National Team
    Red Raiders to host USA Volleyball National Team on October 27 in Lubbock Municipal Coliseum

    The planning is over and the dates and times are set. The Texas Tech volleyball team will host the USA National Team in an exhibition match Monday, October 27 in Lubbock Municipal Coliseum beginning at 7:00 p.m. The USA National Team, consisting of the United States' top players, is planning a national competition exhibition tour with matches against the nation's top collegiate volleyball programs. Texas Tech, currently undefeated at 7-0 with two tournament titles on the young season, was among the initial 12 schools selected for competition.

    "We're extremely excited to have the opportunity to play the best volleyball players in the country," Texas Tech head coach Jeff Nelson said. "It's also a tremendous opportunity for the younger players at the elementary, junior high and high school levels to see the best players in the nation showcased against our own team. To have the opportunity to expose the Lubbock community to the best level of volleyball is really exciting."

    The USA National Team is making preparations to play its 12-match tour against 12 of the top collegiate programs in the nation including Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Washington, Colorado State and Washington State, along with Big XII Conference schools Texas Tech, Nebraska, Kansas State, Texas, Colorado and Texas A&M. The Texas Tech match will be one of the final contests on the tour.

    With the addition of the USA National Team, the Red Raiders' schedule looks even more difficult. The USA National Team will catch Tech in the middle of the Big XII Conference schedule as the Red Raiders will face nationally ranked teams Colorado and Nebraska on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 24 and 25 respectively, then play the USA National Team on Monday, Oct. 27. On the following weekend, Tech will play Kansas State, a volleyball program normally ranked in the top 25. Following a home match against Kansas, Tech will travel to Texas and Texas A&M for matches with two more nationally ranked programs.

    Admission for the exhibition match on Oct. 27 will be $5.00, general admission.

    Coaches Top 25 Poll 
    Poll No. 2 - Sept. 16, 1997
    Rnk School              Points  Record  Prev.
    1.  Penn State (58)     1497    9-0      1
    2.  Florida (1)         1430    8-0      2
    3.  Long Beach State (1)1377    8-0      3
    4.  Stanford            1319    6-2      4
    5.  Nebraska            1260    8-1      5
    6.  Washington State    1162   11-0      6
    7.  UC-Santa Barbara    1147    9-0      7
    8.  Southern Cal        1081    7-0      9
    9.  BYU                  949    7-4     10
    10. Texas                920    4-1     12
    11. Pacific              861    6-2      8
    12. Wisconsin            836    8-0     14
    13. Michigan State       685    7-3     11
    14. Texas A&M            643    5-2     16
    15. Arizona              613    7-0     18
    16. Loyola Marymount     612    8-2     15
    17. UCLA                 593    4-1     19
    18. Hawai'i              484    5-3     13
    19. Pepperdine           409    9-0     N/R
    20. Colorado             374    4-1     22
    21. Arkansas             349    8-2     24
    22. Ohio State           249    6-3     17
    23. Maryland             202    5-0     23
    24. Colorado State       150    6-2     25
    25. Notre Dame           116    5-4     21
    Others receiving points:   Texas Tech (6).
    The USA Today/AVCA volleyball coaches poll is voted upon by coaches around the nation.  
    To receive a listing of the coaches voting, look at www.avca.org for more information.

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