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Sept 12, 1997

Texas Tech and South Carolina Set for Showdown

LUBBOCK, Texas - Both Texas Tech and South Carolina swept two matches with foes Southwestern Louisiana and Louisiana Tech in the 19th annual Four Points-Sheraton/Red Raider Classic volleyball tournament Friday at Lubbock Municipal Coliseum.

Texas Tech (9-0) defeated both Southwestern Louisiana (15-3, 15-6, 16-14) and Louisiana Tech (15-5, 15-10, 15-3) in straight sets, while South Carolina (5-1) answered by sweeping Louisiana Tech (15-5, 15-1, 15-7) and Southwestern Louisiana (15-1, 15-3, 15-10). Those victories set up the Four Points-Sheraton/Red Raider Classic title game against Tech and the Gamecocks at 2:00 p.m. in the Coliseum.

Tech head coach Jeff Nelson is excited about the matchup. "It's a different game," Nelson said. "We're more physical, we play the game higher above the net but they're a finesse team and move the ball around really fast. It'll be an interesting matchup. I'm excited about it because it'll be a different test for us. They play a different style of game than a lot of the teams we play in the Big XII Conference. It'll be fun."

South Carolina's coach, Kim Hudson is a 1982 Texas Tech graduate and is a native of Amarillo, Texas.

Senior middle blocker Brande Brown led Tech in its 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.

"The Louisiana Tech match was much better than our first," Nelson said. "We played really aggressive. We told the team beforehand to swing at every ball and go up and get after it. Tonight we didn't let the game slow down. That's what we didn't want to do- 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.

"We got her some court time," Nelson said. "That's what we wanted to do and we're going to need her tomorrow against South Carolina. We're going to need her to go in there and do some things for us. We'll get that done."

Four Points-Sheraton/Red Raider Classic Results/Schedule 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

Saturday's Schedule
Consolation Game: Louisiana Tech (2-4) vs. Southwestern Louisiana (3-6)
Championship Game: TEXAS TECH (9-0) vs. South Carolina (5-1)

Texas Tech Classic Notes: Tech is looking for its second consecutive Red Raider Classic Tournament title. The Red Raiders have won the Red Raider Classic tournament title nine times in the 18-year tournament history. *Brande Brown had a career-best hitting percentage (.737) vs. Louisiana Tech with 15 kills kills and only one error in 19 attempts. *Junior setter Lisa Hilgers moved into second place on the all-time Texas Tech career assists list with 40 assists in the Raiders' first game against Southwestern Louisiana. Hilgers then finished with 39 assists against Louisiana Tech in the nightcap to finish Saturday with 3,350 career assists. She passed Sheila Solomon (3,307) and will set her sights for the Texas Tech career leader, Ginger Carter at 3,598. Hilgers should easily own the record by seasons' end.

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