Texas Tech volleyball opens season with Red Raider Classic

Texas Tech volleyball opens season with Red Raider Classic

LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech volleyball program launches its 44th season of competition this weekend as it hosts the four-team Red Raider Classic at United Supermarkets Arena Friday and Saturday, Aug. 24-25.
 
The Red Raiders, entering year three under the leadership of head coach Tony Graystone, welcome Northwestern State, North Dakota and Rice for the two day event, which gets underway Friday morning.
 
Tech is slated for its season opener at noon Friday against the Lady Demons of Northwestern State. The Red Raiders will take on North Dakota at 7 p.m. Friday, before rounding out the event against Rice at noon Saturday.
 
TexasTech.TV will provide a stream with Geoff Haxton on the call. Live stats will be available through TexasTech.com. Stay updated with all things Texas Tech volleyball by following the Red Raiders on Twitter and Instagram at @TexasTechVB as well as online at www.TexasTech.com.
 
PROMOTIONS & TICKETS
FRI, 12 PM (NWSU) - Athletic Department Staff Lunch
FRI, 7 PM (UND) - Free T-Shirts for first 500 fans; PlainsCapital Bank Tailgate (4 PM, North Lot)
SAT, 12 PM (Rice) - National Banana Split Day (Free Ice Cream, Club Red)
 
General admission tickets are $5 and $3 for youth (ages 2-17). Tickets will be sold as all-day passes for Friday. Fans can buy online here or by contacting the Texas Tech Athletics Ticket Office at (806) 742-8324. The box office at United Supermarkets Arena will begin operating one hour prior to first serve of the Texas Tech matches.
 
TEAM NOTES

  • Texas Tech looks to take another step forward after a milestone season in 2017 in which they finished 19-15, reaching the title match of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship. It marked the first winning season, first postseason appearance and highest finish in the Big 12 standings since 2001.
  • The Red Raiders return five starters, including seniors Missy Owens and Katy Keenan. Owens was selected to the All-Big 12 Preseason Team after earning All-Big 12 Second Team honors in 2017. Keenan was the team's most efficient attacker in 2017 and ranked sixth in the league.
  • Juniors Emily Hill and Chandler Atwood also return as the team's leading killers from 2017. Hill racked up 416 kills and 14 double-doubles to lead the team, while Atwood contributed 280 kills and was third on the team in blocks.
  • Allison White and Emerson Solano round out the team's top returners. White started all 34 games as a freshman and set the freshman school record with 121 total blocks. Solano, an Amarillo native, started five matches and averaged 1.78 digs per set as a freshman.
  • Eight true freshmen and 10 total newcomers enter the fold. Tech welcomes Maggie Sagers back to the court after missing her sophomore season with an injury. Andrea Janss, who redshirted her freshman year, is now healthy and ready to show off her big left arm.
  • True freshmen to watch include RS Brooke Kanas, DS/L Kiari Gier and DS/L Katy Northcut. The newcomers showed tremendous promise during the Red & Black Scrimmage and will be heavily relied upon for improved depth behind the starters.

TOURNAMENT NOTES

  • The date of Aug. 24 will mark the earliest home match in Texas Tech volleyball history.
  • Texas Tech is 7-0 at the Red Raider Classic under Graystone. Overall, Tech has won 18 of its last 19 home tournament matches. Last season, Tech swept Lamar, UC Riverside and UTRGV at the event.
  • Texas Tech is 29-14 all-time in season openers and 36-7 all-time in home openers. Graystone carries a 15-3 all-time mark in season openers.
  • Graystone is one win away from 30 during his tenure at Texas Tech.

 
THE OPPOSITION
Northwestern State (2017 Record: 15-17, 10-6 Southland | Series Record: Texas Tech leads 3-0)
The Lady Demons were one of three teams to receive a first-place vote in the Southland Conference's preseason poll. They return 14-of-15 letterwinners from a team that went 10-6 in conference play last season. They boast reigning SLC Libero of the Year Channing Burleson and preseason SLC all-conference selection Reagan Rogers. Led by Rogers, the Lady Demons return 100 percent of their kills and 99 percent of their services aces.  
 
North Dakota (2017 Record: 30-8, 12-4 Big Sky | Series Record: Texas Tech leads 1-0)
An NCAA Team each of the last two seasons, the Fighting Hawks enter their first year in The Summit League as one of two teams to receive a first place vote in the conference's preseason poll. They return three starters and seven letterwinners from their 2017 squad, which exited the Big Sky Conference by claiming its second consecutive conference tournament title. Jordan Vail is the top returner after earning All-Big Sky First Team accolades last season with 311 kills and 128 blocks.
 
Rice (2017 Record: 21-9, 11-3 C-USA | Series Record: Texas Tech leads 26-10)
The Owls received two first place votes and were ranked to finish second in the Conference USA preseason poll. They return seven players with starting experience from a group that went 11-3 in C-USA and received a berth in the NIVC. Grace Morgan and Nicole Lennon were named to the 12-person 2018 C-USA Preseason Team. Morgan, a junior middle, was an AVCA All-Southwest Region honorable mention performer last season, while Lennon was tabbed the C-USA Freshman of the Year in 2017.
 
UP NEXT
Following Saturday's tournament finale, Texas Tech will hit the road for the next month with its next scheduled home date a game into Big 12 play on Sept. 22 against West Virginia. Tech heads to ACU Tuesday, Aug. 28, before preparing for a series of road trips to California and the Rio Grande Valley throughout nonconference play.

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