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Nov. 7, 1997

Red Raiders Upset No. 14 Texas A&M

Tech First Big 12 Team to 20-win Plateau for Second Straight Year

Texas Tech became the Big 12 Conference's first team to reach the 20-win plateau for the second consecutive year Friday with a gritty 15-3, 11-15, 9-15, 15-12, 15-12 upset at No. 14 Texas A&M in a 2 hour and 40 minute match in College Station, Texas before 1,384 fans.

Tech's victory broke Texas A&M's 43-match home winning streak against unranked opponents. The win also was Tech's second over a nationally ranked team on the season and Tech head coach Jeff Nelson's first victory against the Aggies in his career. Nelson is now 1-6 vs. Texas A&M in his three years at Texas Tech.

Texas Tech grabbed an 8-0 lead and finished off a huge 15-3 win in game one to take a 1-0 lead. But Texas A&M stunned Tech and rallied for two consecutive wins in games two (15-11) and three (15-9) to take a commanding 2-1 lead. Tech tied up the match and gained momentum with a 15-12 victory in the third game after jumping out to an early10-5 lead and withstanding an Aggie comeback to tie at 11-11. But Tech scored the final four points for the victory. The fifth game saw Tech score five of the last seven points after an 10-10 tie to win 15-12 and capture its second victory against a nationally ranked team on the season.

Tech outhit Texas A&M .209 (72-29-206)-.193 (80-36-228) and outblocked the Aggies 11-7. Texas A&M had 21 service errors.

Sophomore Courtney Putnam and senior middle blocker Brande Brown each led Tech with 18 kills apeice. Brown hit .382 (18-5-34) on the evening and contributed 15 digs and four blocks. Junior middle blocker Sonia Moric notched career highs in kills (10) and attacks (18) for a .500 hitting percentage in a key performance off the bench. She also contributed seven block assists. Setter Lisa Hilgers added 59 assists.

Six Red Raiders finished with double figures in digs including Hilgers' 19, Brown and Martin's 15, junior outside hitter Natalie Rives' and junior outside hitter Kristen Holmes' 12 and freshman Heather Hughes' 10. Texas Tech now 2-1 in matches lasting five games.

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