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Sept. 22, 1997

Quoting Texas Tech Head Volleyball Coach Jeff Nelson

Jeff Nelson
Coach Jeff Nelson

Opening Comments:
"We had a great tournament up at Air Force this weekend. We played as well as we've ever played in terms of our confidence and maintaining a high level of play with the young group. That's been our problem so far this season- just maintaining big leads and putting teams away. We were able to do that this weekend.

"Brande Brown was exceptional. She was the tournament MVP again and played some really awesome volleyball. That was exciting just to see that. It's kind of funny- she got done with the second game and they came over and said she had 10 kills, no errors in 10 attempts and was hitting 1.000. So I said, "what's the cutoff for the NCAA record?" They said,"10 attempts." So I said, "she's done." Then they came back over and said that she'd have to appear in the third game. So we put her back in for one point and we told our setter that she was absolutely not to touch the ball just to hold on to that. She wanted to play the whole game but I think it's pretty special to have something like that. That's something she'll always have because it's a perfect mark. We wanted her to have that. That was really a neat thing for us this weekend.

"Lisa Hilgers continues to play outstanding. She's tops in the conference in defense and setting and doing a great job for us- doing a lot of people's jobs for them out on the court because she is the most experienced player.

"Some of the highlights right now are as a team we're hitting .307 which is really awesome and is probably in the top 10 in hitting percentage in the country. We have six players hitting over .300 right now which we've never had in the history of the school- that's real exciting too. We're not a great volleyball team yet. We have some great athletes and we're winning off of athleticism. When they become a great volleyball team, it's going to be exciting. We're about halfway there.

"We open Big 12 this weekend with Missouri. They're 11-4. They finished in the bottom of the conference last year but had a great recruiting year and made a big turnaround. We're looking forward to that. Their big outside hitter is Renee Ruzinski. She's got 3.51 kills per game and is hitting .336 which is very outstanding. We'll definitely be looking at that.

"Then we go up to Iowa State on Saturday and face them and they're 9-4 right now. They've got some good wins this year. It's a tough road trip right away but it's something that we're looking forward to- we made a big push this weekend to get ready for the Big 12 and have really focused on some things that we need to get better: serving and blocking. I feel real confident about the direction we're going and the things that are happening.

"Coming up beyond that, we've got Texas at home and will probably be presenting our NCAA banner from last year. This afternoon at practice, we're doing some goal reevaluation to see where we're going. We didn't really set goals beyond the non conference schedule because we're so young we didn't know what to expect. Today, we're going to get back in there and hammer at that for a while.

On if there are any surprises in the conference:
"The conference is really playing well. There's a lot more balance this year. I think Texas A&M and Nebraska are sitting on top but there's a lot of balance from places three through nine or ten. You're just going to have to be prepared each week and be on your toes. You've got to win the close ones. Last year, at the end of the season, we had a couple of five-game losses really killed our confidence. That's what a tough conference is like. It'll be interesting but I think this weekend will be a good test of how far we've come in the first seven or eight weeks."

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