Rotating image
Tech Women's Volleyball Prepares For Nebraska, Iowa State

Skydra Orzen ranks sixth nationally in assists with just over 14 per game.
Skydra Orzen ranks sixth nationally in assists with just over 14 per game.

Nov. 20, 2000

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

Texas Tech will travel to Lincoln, Neb for a match-up with undefeated and top-ranked Nebraska on Thanksgiving Eve. The Huskers have been simply dominating this season as the squad has won 21 of its matches in just three games. The Huskers lead the conference in attendance with an average of 4,276. Nebraska set an all-time NCAA attendance record against Colorado when they attracted 12,504 fans to the Bob Devaney Center.

Nebraska is led by Laura Pilakowski who has 342 kills and 216 digs. Setter Greichaly Cepero has 141 kills and 939 assists.

Texas Tech will close out the regular season on Saturday when they play host to the Iowa State Cyclones. Iowa State has yet to win a match in Big 12 play and have won just two non-conferences matches.

The Cyclones are led by Stacy Nicks who has 237 kills.

The Texas Tech volleyball team will learn its postseason destination on Sunday, Nov. 26. The NCAA will announce pairings at 7 p.m. (CT) via satellite. The telecast can be reached on a consumer DSS dish such as DirecTV or Dish Network. The show will be shown on the Sunshine Network (DirecTV 629/Dish Network 424. The show can also be viewed on a C-Band downlink (Telstar 4, Transponder 23).

Texas Tech's success on the court is also showing up in the NCAA statistical rankings. As of the Nov. 12 rankings, Texas Tech has two individuals ranking among the nation's Top 20 in two categories. Texas Tech is also ranked as a team in one category.

(6) Assists, Skydra Orzen
(2) Service Aces, Heather Hughes-Justice

(18) Assists

Texas Tech junior defensive specialist Heather Hughes-Justice maintained her second place mark in this week's NCAA individual standings. Two weeks ago, Hughes-Justice lost her No. 1 ranking and fell to third in the national standings but moved to second in the Nov. 7 rankings. Hughes-Justice currently has 72 aces on the year.

Junior setter Skydra Orzen entered Saturday's match with Texas A&M needing just 92 assists to become Texas Tech's single-season assist leader. Orzen decided not to drag on the process so she tallied all 92 assists in just once match to give her a spot in the Texas Tech record book. Orzen now has 1,538 assists which surpasses the mark of 1,537 set by former Texas Tech great Lisa Hilgers during the 1995 season.

Sophomore Melissa McGehee had one of her most productive weeks of the season this past week as she tallied 51 kills on 113 attacks (.327) against Colorado and Texas A&M. McGehee racked up a career-high 31 kills along with 21 digs against the Aggies on Saturday. McGehee concluded the week with two double-doubles giving her 20 on the season. McGehee also became the first player at Texas Tech to tally over 400 kills and 400 digs in the same season. McGehee is second on the team behind Ann Romjue with 412 digs.

Texas Tech, after a .265 hitting performance against Texas A&M on Saturday, is now hitting .247 on the season and .235 in the Big 12. Texas Tech entered Wednesday's match with Colorado hitting .247 overall and dropped to .246 after a five-game loss to the Buffaloes. Sophomore Melissa McGehee has been the most consistent hitter all season long for Texas Tech as she has 440 kills and a hitting percentage of .269.

Sophomore outside hitter Ann Romjue added a second 30-dig match to her 2000 season resume as she put up 36 digs against the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday. Romjue's 36 digs set a school record for most digs in a match. The previous record was held by Rochelle Kaaiai who tallied 34 digs against Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo on Sept. 23, 1992.

For the first time in Texas Tech volleyball history, a player has achieved the 500 kill mark in a season. With 33 kills against Texas A&M on Saturday, senior Colleen Smith now has 506 kills on the season. Smith is now ninth on the career kill chart at Texas Tech.

Senior outside hitter Colleen Smith and sophomore Melissa McGehee have been absolutely dominating this season. Both players have combined for a total of 946 kills and became the first duo in school history to hit over 400 kills in the same season. Only four players in school history have hit over 400 kills in a single-season (Brande Brown (431) - 1997, Jill Burness (427) - 1996, Colleen Smith - 2000 and Melissa McGehee - 2000). Defensively, McGehee and Smith have been just as deadly as the two players have combined for 613 digs on the year.

Discipline. Hard Work. Determination. No matter how you classify these three words they pretty much describe the philosophies of Texas Tech Head Volleyball Coach Jeff Nelson.

After five years as the Red Raider head volleyball coach, Nelson has turned a team that won half of its matches in 1994 prior to his arrival into a successful, dynamic and ever-improving progam. Already in his first four years, Nelson has guided Texas Tech to three NCAA tournament appearances, led the Red Raiders to four 20-win campaigns, recruited and signed the top volleyball athletes in the nation and generated an interest level in volleyball never before seen in Lubbock.

Nelson has been successful at every stop during his career both as a player and coach. As a volleyball player at Ball State University, his collegiate team advanced to the NCAA Final Four in 1985. He helped guide Muncie Burris High School to the 1995 Indiana State Volleyball Championship with a 42-0 record while serving as an assistant coach. As a graduate assistant at the University of Nebraska, he was part of a program that placed runner-up in the 1986 NCAA Championships.

From Nebraska, he was named assistant head coach in 1988 and head coach of the Minnesota Monarchs of the Major League Volleyball for the 1989 season. He led the Monarchs to a 9-0 start in 1989 and was selected as coach of the East All-Star team.

After the MLV folded, Nelson joined the University of Minnesota volleyball program as an assistant coach. He helped the Golden Gophers post a 29-9 record, place second in the Big Ten Conference and advance to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 round in 1989.

From 1990 to 1995, Nelson helped Arizona State earn two Sweet Sixteen and three NCAA appearances (1992-93-94) and one NIVC berth (1990) as its assistant volleyball coach. During his five years as recruiting coordinator, he signed four high school All-Americas. His coaching abilities were showcased in the spring of 1994 when head Sun Devil coach Patti Snyder took a six-week maternity leave. He also doubled as Arizona State's men's club team coach where he guided the Sun Devils to three Cactus Region championships and three Top 10 national finishes. He also produced five All-America athletes along with one USA Open All-America, placed seventh in the U.S. Open and hosted the 1994 National Club championships. His 1994 club team posted a 68-5 record and was ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation.



Official Gear of the
Texas Tech Red Raiders