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Texas Tech Returns to the Road for Cougar Challenge

The Red Raiders play in their final road tournament this weekend at Washington State.

Sept. 5, 2013

Texas Tech Notes

LUBBOCK, Texas - Texas Tech returns to the road this weekend, traveling to the northwest for the Cougar Challenge hosted by Washington State. The Red Raiders will face Montana and Washington State on Friday and then close the two-day event on Saturday against South Dakota and Eastern Washington.

• Texas Tech returns to tournament action this weekend as the Red Raiders travel to the northwest to take part in the Cougar Challenge hosted by Washington State. Tech will face Montana and the host Cougars on Friday before closing the event against South Dakota State and Eastern Washington on Saturday.
• Texas Tech's tournament opener against Montana will be the first of two matches against the Grizzlies this year. Montana, which fell to Tech in four sets a year ago, will travel to Lubbock next weekend for the Lone Star Showdown.
• The Red Raiders will be facing a Pac-12 member in a non-conference match for the first time since 2008 on Friday evening when Texas Tech and Washington State meet in a 10 p.m. CT first serve. Tech has only played three Pac-12 schools in non-conference action during the Big 12 era, going 1-2 in those matches.
• Texas Tech is coming off a three-set sweep of Abilene Christian on Tuesday night that improved the Red Raiders to 31-7 all-time in home openers. It was also the third-straight season where the Red Raiders opened their home slate with a victory under head coach Don Flora.
• Following her 17-kill performance Tuesday night against Abilene Christian, Texas Tech junior Breeann David now leads the Big 12 in several offensive categories, including total kills, kills per set, service aces, service aces per set, total points and points per set. She also ranks sixth in the conference with a .382 hitting percentage.
• Texas Tech has found significant success in non-conference action under Flora, who has led the Red Raiders to a 29-8 mark in such matches during his two-plus seasons. Tech is also 24-5 under Flora when taking part in a non-conference tournament.
• The Red Raiders opened their 38th season of volleyball last weekend with a 3-1 showing at the Wildcat Invitational hosted by Weber State. Tech followed a 3-0 season-opening loss to Seattle by winning three-straight matches over UC Riverside, Grand Canyon and Weber State to share the tournament title.
• Texas Tech earned a pair of selections to the Wildcat Invitational all-tournament team last weekend in Rachel Brummitt and Mikia Mills while Breeann David shared Most Valuable Player honors.

Texas Tech will look to continue its dominance over non-conference foes this weekend at the Cougar Challenge. The Red Raiders are a combined 29-8 all-time against out-of-league opponents under third-year head coach Don Flora, who is also 24-5 during his tenure in non-conference tournaments. Tech turned in a 14-2 record in non-conference action during Flora's first season in 2011 and then posted an 11-5 mark a year ago.

Texas Tech closes out its home-and-home series with Abilene Christian next Tuesday as the Red Raiders travel roughly 170 miles south to face the Wildcats at 6:30 p.m. in Moody Coliseum. The Red Raiders will then host the Lone Star Showdown the following weekend, bringing in Montana, Nevada and Cal State Fullerton for the two-day tournament that begins Sept. 13 at the United Spirit Arena.

The Red Raiders will be facing an opponent from the Pac-12 Conference for the first time since 2008 Friday evening when Texas Tech and Washington State battle at 10 p.m. CT in Pullman. Tech last faced a Pac-12 member in a non-conference match in 2008 when the Red Raiders traveled to the Arizona Invitational and fell to the host Wildcats in three sets. This will be the first ever meeting between Texas Tech and Washington State as the only other Pac-12 members the Red Raiders have faced in school history are California (2002) and Arizona State (2007).

For Breeann David, the 2013 season probably couldn't have gotten off to a better start. The hard-hitting junior totaled 64 kills during the season-opening Wildcat Invitational and then tacked on 17 more Tuesday against Abilene Christian to up her season average to an impressive 4.76 kills per set while also hitting at a .382 percentage.. David, who led Tech in kills in all five matches, wrapped the Wildcat Invitational by connecting on a career-high 21 kills against Grand Canyon and then 20 against Weber State. The Denver City, Texas product has finished in double figures for kills in all five matches, marking the longest such streak to begin a season for a Red Raider since Alicia Ostmeyer posted at least 10 kills in the first five matches of the 2007 season. David enters this weekend as the Big 12 leader in almost all offensive categories.

If the start of the 2013 campaign is any indication, Aubree Piper's senior season could be a special one. The lone senior on the Texas Tech roster, Piper has totaled 40 kills in the last three matches alone while hitting over .350 during that span as well. Piper, who has battled several injuries throughout her career, is Tech's second-leading offensive player so far this year, totaling 49 kills at a 2.88 per set rate. Her presence in the middle has not just been felt offensively, though, as she has also totaled 13 blocks while adding four service aces. The Amarillo, Texas native has taken 76 swings in the last three matches, totaling only nine errors during that time en route to a .408 hitting percentage. She is hitting .317 on the year, the second-highest percentage on the team.

One of Don Flora's mantra's since his arrival in West Texas prior to the 2011 season has been to jump on opponents early. Through five matches this year, Texas Tech has been fairly successful at doing so, winning four of the five opening sets so far. Tech is a perfect 4-0 when gaining the opening lead this season and an impressive 27-6 under Flora when doing so as well. The Red Raiders have also never lost a 2-0 lead under Flora, going a perfect 18-0 over two-plus seasons.



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