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.
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.
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.
This Week's Schedule
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.