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Oct. 13, 1997

Texas Tech Prepares for Baylor, Oklahoma

Texas Tech split its two weekend matches in Kansas to finish the weekend with a 3-3 Big 12 Conference record along with a 16-4 overall record. Tech defeated Kansas 15-5, 15-6, 15-12 on Friday in Lawrence and lost to Kansas State 15-8, 15-10, 12-15, 15-10 on Saturday evening in Manhattan.

With the upcoming week, Texas Tech will travel to Baylor (13-7, 3-3) and Waco, Texas on Wednesday evening (Oct. 15) for a 7:30 p.m. match, then host Oklahoma (9-8, 3-3 Big 12 Conference) at Coronado High School on Saturday (Oct. 18) at 7:00 p.m.

Baylor enters Wednesday's contest after splitting its last two weekend matches with Kansas State (3-0 loss) and Kansas (3-0 win). The Bears are led by Elisha Polk who leads the conference kills with 361. Polk is hitting .252 on the season. Other key contributors for Baylor include Kia Young (184 kills) and setter Jennifer Harris (697 assists).

Oklahoma enters its Saturday matchup with Tech after winning three of its last four matches. The Sooners defeated No. 5 Nebraska on Friday in three straight games but lost to No. 22 Colorado in five games on Saturday. Oklahoma is led by Melissa Peterson (264 kills/.203 pct.) and Patrice Arlington (296 kills/.294 pct.).

Weekend Recap: Texas Tech splits weekend matches with Kansas, Kansas State

Texas Tech's weekend got off to an exciting start as the Red Raiders wasted little time in defeating Kansas in a 62-minute match, 15-5, 15-6, 15-12 to improve to 16-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big 12. The match also marked the 14th match on the season that Tech has won in three consecutive games.

As a team, Tech finished the match with a .326 hitting percentage along with 60 kills and held Kansas to .202 hitting on only 44 kills. It was Tech's 11th match on the season hitting above .300. The Red Raiders are 11-0 when they hit over .300.

Senior middle blocker Brande Brown provided the offensive firepower as she recorded 17 kills in 31 attempts for a .484 hitting percentage. Sophomore Courtney Putnam recorded 12 kills in 33 attempts (.273 pct.), senior outside hitter Cristine Martin added a .357 percentage (8-3-14), junior outside hitter Kristen Holmes tacked on six kills and 10 assists and junior middle blocker Sonia Moric finished with six kills (.500 pct.) and five blocks.

Junior setter Lisa Hilgers was fantastic as she finished with a .667 hitting percentage (6-0-9), 48 assists and 10 digs.

The Red Raiders finished off the weekend with a 15-8, 15-10, 12-15, 15-10 loss at Kansas State to drop to 16-4 overall and 3-3 in the Big 12 Conference. Kansas State did everything it needed to defeat Tech as it outhit the Red Raiders .259 to .181 and oublocked them 18-11. Brown totaled 16 kills, five blocks and 11 digs for Tech, Martin finished with 13 kills and 18 digs, Putnam added 12 kills and Hilgers contributed 48 assists and 13 digs.

Hilgers leads Big 12 Conference in hitting pct.: Entering this weekend, Texas Tech junior setter Lisa Hilgers was leading the Big 12 Conference in hitting percentage for league matches only with a .412 hitting percentage (16-2-34). She improved this weekend and is now hitting .426 (25-2-54) in conference matches.

Team Notes

  • Texas Tech is now 0-4 in matches spanning four games. In all three matches- South Carolina, Texas, Texas A&M and Kansas State, the Red Raiders lost their first two games, won the second and lost the fourth.
  • With the convincing victory against Kansas, Tech is now 14-0 in matches spanning three games.
  • Texas Tech finished its 11th match hitting above .300 on the season. Tech is 11-0 in those matches while hitting over .300.
  • With the victory against Kansas and a win in the first game, Texas Tech is 14-0 in matches if the Red Raiders win their first game.
  • Kansas State set opponent season high for most kills in a match with 85.
  • The Air Force Falcon Classic championship was the 36th all-time tournament title by the Texas Tech volleyball program and head coach Jeff Nelson's eighth tourney title in three years.
  • Texas Tech head coach Jeff Nelson's career record is now 62-25.
  • Brande Brown tied an NCAA record for hitting percentage in a match with a perfect 1.000 (10-0-10) performance against William & Mary on September 20.
  • Tech has needed only three games to win 14 of its 16 match victories.
  • Tech had its lowest hitting percentage of the season vs. Texas .084
  • The last time Tech lost back-to-back matches was last year, 1996) when the Red Raiders lost to Nebraska (11/22) and Colorado (11/23).
  • The last time Tech lost back-to-back home matches was in 1996 vs. Texas A&M (11/8) and Texas (11/9).

Starting Lineups: Following is the starting lineup totals for the Red Raiders: Heather Hughes 20, Lisa Hilgers 20, Brande Brown 19, Angela Cooper 18, , Courtney Putnam 17, Kristen Holmes 15, Cristine Martin 10, Sonia Moric 1.

Hilgers breaks TTU career assists record: Junior setter Lisa Hilgers broke the Texas Tech all-time career assists record against Iowa State. During the Texas match, Hilgers was honored following game two with a game ball to commemorate the record. Before the Iowa State match, Hilgers needed 14 assists to break the record. She tied the record after she finished with 13 assists in game one. Her first assist in game two marked the record-breaking assist. Hilgers surpassed Ginger Carter's record of 3,598 career assists compiled from 1991-94. Hilgers now has 3,624 assists and will have this season along with next season to build upon her accomplishment. Hilgers also set a career high for hitting percentage in a match with a .727 performance (9-1-11).

Jill Burness makes homecoming vs. Texas A&M: 1996 senior Texas Tech standout and first team all-Big 12 Conference player Jill Burness made her homecoming to Texas Tech and Lubbock Municipal Coliseum on Saturday, Oct. 4 as part of the Texas A&M coaching entourage. Burness is completing her graduate study at Texas A&M and is a volunteer assistant coach with the Aggie volleyball program. When the P.A. announcer announced her name, the crowd cheered heavily for Burness who won almost every academic-athletic award available for an NCAA volleyball player.

NCAA Tournament banner lowered: The 1996 NCAA Tournament banner was lowered from the rafters before Tech's game with Texas on Oct. 3. The banner honors the 1996 Texas Tech volleyball team's accomplishments including a 25-9 overall record, second straight season with 20 wins and second consecutive NCAA tournament berth.


Player Notes

Courtney Putnam
1997: registered 12 kills in a career high 48 attempts against Kansas ... finished with eight digs vs. Texas A&M ... led team with a .304 hitting percentage (10-3-23) and five blocks vs. Texas ... 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: has started all 20 matches as a freshman ... had eight digs vs. Texas ... recorded eight and seven digs vs. Iowa State and Missouri respectively ... 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: totaled 13 digs and 48 assists vs. Kansas State ... finished with .667 (6-0-9) hitting percentage, 10 digs vs. Kansas ... hit .308 (4-0-13) and registered 41 assists and 14 digs vs. Texas A&M ... finished with 38 assists and 13 digs vs. Texas ... broke Texas Tech career assists record in game two vs. Iowa State and recorded career-best hitting percentage for a match (.727) with 9-1-11 performance ... 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: finished with 10 digs vs. Kansas ... finished with nine kills vs. both Texas and Texas A&M ... 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: finished with 16 kills, five blocks and 11 digs vs. Kansas State ... hit .484 (17-2-31) vs. Kansas ... finished with 10 kills and 11 digs vs. Texas A&M ... had 11 kills in 35 attempts and had nine digs vs. Texas ... registered 18 kills in 25 attempts for a .640 percentage and five digs vs. Iowa State ... had a career-high five aces vs. Missouri ... named co-Big 12 Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 15 ... 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 .535 (51-13-71) 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 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: finished with 13 kills and 18 digs vs. Kansas State ... hit .357 (8-3-14) and had nine digs vs. Kansas ... had 11 kills and 15 digs vs. Texas A&M ... registered 11 kills vs. Texas ... led team with 10 kills in 18 attempts (.389) vs. Missouri ... led team with nine digs vs. Iowa State ... 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: totaled four blocks vs. Kansas State ... hit .308 (7-3-13) vs. Texas A&M ... 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: hit .444 (6-2-9) vs. Kansas State and hit .500 (6-1-10) vs. Kansas ... provided valuable play off the bench after finishing with three blocks vs. Texas and four blocks vs. Texas A&M ... 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 .357 (7-2-14) vs. Texas A&M ... hit .474 (10-1-19) vs. Iowa State ... 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.


1997 Team Match Highs

Kills: Most: 81 at South Florida 9/5; Least: 35 vs. Texas-San Antonio 8/29; Opponent most: 85 at Kansas State 10/11; 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: .084 (51-38-154) vs. Texas 10/3; 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

Service Aces: Most: 12 vs. Missouri 9/26; Least: 2 vs. South Carolina 9/13; Opponent most: 9 at South Florida 9/5; Opponent least: 0 vs. SMU and William & Mary

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: 34 vs. Texas 10/3; Opponent least: 2 vs. Portland 8/29 and William & Mary 9/20

Total Blocks: Most: 23 at South Florida 9/5; Least: 4 vs. Georgia Southern 9/6; Opponent most: 22 vs. Texas 10/3; 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."

Brown ties NCAA hitting percentage record: Brande Brown tied an NCAA hitting percentage record with a perfect 10-0-10 performance against William & Mary on September 20, 1997. Here is where she stands on the all-time NCAA hitting performance chart: Note- these records reflect records from the 1995 season and not the 1996 season. The 1997 NCAA guide is not completed.

NCAA Records- Hitting Percentage (10-14 attempts)
Pct. (K-E/TA)   Player, Team vs. Opponent                           Date
1.000 (13-0/13) Amy Cooper, Stanford vs. California                 Oct. 9, 1990
1.000 (13-0/13) Debbie McDonald, Purdue vs. NC State                Sept. 25, 1987
1.000 (12-0/12) Kenyatta Lovelace, Hawai'i vs. Cal St. Fullerton    Oct. 3, 1992
1.000 (11-0/11) Cindy Silldorff, San Diego vs. San Francisco        Nov. 11, 1988
1.000 (10-0/10) Brande Brown, Texas Tech vs. William & Mary         Sept. 20, 1997
1.000 (10-0/10) Julia Civardi, Colgate vs. LIU-Brooklyn             Sept. 25, 1993
1.000 (10-0/10) Cris Omiecinski, Georgia Tech vs. West Georgia      Oct. 10, 1992
1.000 (10-0/10) Laura Olesen, Stanford vs. Oregon State             Oct. 31, 1986

BIG 12 CONFERENCE STANDINGS
                Big 12          Overall
Team            W-L     Pct.    Home    Away
Texas           6-0     1.000   11-3    .785
Colorado        6-0     1.000   10-4    .714
Texas A&M       5-1     .750    12-3    .800
Nebraska        4-2     .667    13-4    .765
Texas Tech      3-3     .500    16-4    .800
Kansas State    3-3     .500    11-6    .647
Oklahoma        3-3     .500     9-8    .529
Baylor          3-3     .500    13-7    .650
Missouri        0-6     .000    11-10   .523
Iowa State      0-6     .000     9-10   .474
Kansas          0-6     .000     7-12   .368

This Week's Schedule
Oct. 15: Texas Tech at Baylor;
Oct. 17: CU at A&M; Kan. at Miss.; KSU at ISU; Neb. at Texas; Okla. at Baylor;
Oct. 18: Oklahoma at Texas Tech


NEED AN ANGLE TO COVER TEXAS TECH VOLLEYBALL?

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. She was allowed to practice beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 9. 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). Brown set an NCAA record earlier in the season with a perfect 1.000 hitting percentage (10-0-10) vs. William & Mary. That record should be on NCAA recordbooks for years to come.

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. Earlier this season, Hilgers broke the all-time Texas Tech record for career assists and she still has a year of eligibility remaining.

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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