LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech volleyball team looks to continue its strong start to Big 12 play as it heads to Norman, Okla., to take on Oklahoma Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m., at McCasland Field House.
The Red Raiders (12-4, 1-2) are coming off a split of their two-match home stand last week in which they topped West Virginia, 3-1, before battling No. 18 Iowa State to five sets. The Sooners (3-13, 0-3), meanwhile are back at home for the first time in two weeks and are looking to end an eight-match skid.
Wednesday’s matchup will be the 71st meeting all-time between the Red Raiders and Sooners with the series split down the middle at 35-35. Oklahoma holds a 19-13 advantage in Norman and has won 22 of the last 23 matches overall. Tech’s lone win during that stretch came in 2015, a 3-2 win at United Supermarkets Arena.
“You see a whole different mindset all the way around,” head coach Tony Graystone said when asked of the team’s mentality following their loss to No. 18 Iowa State. “I was really encouraged by the response. They were frustrated, they were disappointed but they also know they were three points from beating a ranked team. They took it all the right way, and I thought we’ve rebounded and are in good shape.”
The match will be televised by Sooner Sports TV on FOX Sports Oklahoma and FOX College Sports-Pacific with Chad McKee (play-by-play) and Jen Robinson (color commentary) on the call. Additionally, live stats will be available at Oklahoma.Statbroadcast.com.
Red Raiders Recently
With Preseason All-Big 12 libero Reyn Akiu sidelined, graduate transfer Kate Klepetka assumed the role as libero for the team’s last four matches and has filled the role very well. Freshmen Emerson Solano, who got bumped into the starting rotation following Akiu’s injury, is hopeful to return to the court this week after suffering a severe cut in the fourth set of Tech’s win over West Virginia. Junior Madison Lopez is next up, getting the start against No. 18 Iowa State. Sophomore Emily Hill is coming off a strong week in which she tallied 40 combined kills, including a career-high and Big 12 season-best 26 against the Mountaineers. Juniors Katy Keenan and Missy Owens have been efficient offensively while freshman Allison White has established herself as the team’s best blocker.
Oklahoma played a tough non-conference slate featuring No. 7 Washington, No. 18 USC, Maryland, Colorado and Georgia among others. During their winless start to conference play, they’ve taken a set from No. 18 Iowa State and Baylor while taking Kansas State to five sets. Junior Alyssa Enneking has been the team’s best all-around player during Big 12 play as she sits second in the conference at 4.08 kills per set and seventh in the league in digs per set at 3.77.
Tech’s 12 wins has already surpassed its 2016 total of 10
Tech is one set win away from matching last season’s total number of sets won (42).
Tech is 3-0 this season in matches immediately following a loss.
On the road, Tech is 3-3 this season.
Through three Big 12 matches, the Red Raiders are hitting .225 as a team compared to the .152 clip they posted overall in 2016.
The Red Raiders sit in a tie for fifth in the Big 12 standings with West Virginia and Kansas State.
The Red Raiders opened Big 12 play hitting .250 in its first two Big 12 matches, marking only the sixth and seventh outings since 2009 Tech has hit .250 or better in a Big 12 match.
Tech has started five of its nine newcomers in each of the first three Big 12 matches.
During nonconference play, Tech earned its first non-conference win over a Power-Five school since 2012 with a 3-1 win at Clemson. A day later, they got a victory over South Carolina to mark the first time Tech has won multiple non-conference matches against Power-Five foes since 2002.
Throughout non-conference play, Tech improved its kills per set from 12.96 in 2016 to 14.09 in 2017, its assists per set from 12.07 in 2016 to 13.15 in 2017 and digs per set from 14.70 in 2016 to 15.59 in 2017. Similarly, Tech held opponents to .176 hitting in 2017, down from .200 in 2016, giving up just 11.80 kills per set, which was down from 12.59 in 2016.