Texas Tech volleyball needs your help to SCARE THE BEARS!
On Wednesday evening’s match at the United Spirit Arena, all fans that show up in Halloween costumes will get in FREE! Make sure they’re good, because during the break, there will be a costume contest for a chance to win 2 tickets to the Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State football game on November 12!
Kids in 8th grade or under who color this flyer get in free!
Wednesday is also Student Organization Night. Student organizations set up on the concourse for a post-game “safe treat” for all of our little Red Raiders.
And of course, all Guns Up Club members get in free when they show their membership cards.
The best way to describe the start of this season would probably be a description of numerous days on the road. Normally, for teams in years past, this would be a problem, but the Red Raiders have handled the several weeks mainly in hotels well. They’re focused, organized, and have responded to any challenge Coach Flora or the coaching staff have thrown their way.
Over the past two weeks, the team has spent a total of nine nights in a hotel, playing seven matches during that stretch, all wins. That total will move to 11 nights on the road after tomorrow night’s match against North Texas. For most teams, this would create a distraction both on the court and in the classroom. I’m proud to report this isn’t the case with this year’s squad.
When they are on the court, it’s all business. When they are back in the hotel, it’s usually about catching up on homework or preparing for that next big test. Before each match, assistant coach Jojit Coronel will go over that day’s scouting report as Tech will sometime only have a few hours in between matches. Preparation and attention to detail are both important aspects to everything Tech does this year, and the Red Raiders have really bought into the system and the record shows it.
Since we have already discussed Coach Flora briefly, I’d hate not to state that he set a new Tech record in last Saturday’s win over UT-Arlington as Tech’s 12-1 record is the best for a first-year head coach through 13 matches in school history. Flora passed Donna Martin, who led Tech to a 11-2 start in 1985 as the Red Raiders eventually ended the year 19-9 overall.
Hopefully Tech can keep this 12-match winning streak going Monday night against North Texas in order to carry some momentum into this weekend’s Big 12 opener against Iowa State. Keep a close eye on Twitter (@TechGameday) tomorrow evening for updates throughout the match.
To say that those close to the volleyball program weren’t excited following the TCU Invitational might be an understatement. Now, obviously, all those involved would have liked to be 3-0, but the Red Raiders battled tough against an experienced TCU squad and then rebounded the next day by sweeping both UConn and Grambling State.
The most impressive part, in my opinion, was that the squad expected to win. Once they did win, it was as if the Red Raiders had won a 1,000 times before. As Coach Flora has said multiple times, this was part of the “journey” this program will take this season. That type of attitude is exciting to see and should provide some confidence as we head into this weekend’s Texas Tech Invitational.
Possibly the most impressive part of Tech’s play was the offensive balance. Tech had three players – Amanda Dowdy, Miara Cave, and Breeann David – with double-digit kills over the first two matches, something that hadn’t been done since 2007. This caused Tech’s hitting percentage to rise as well. The Red Raiders hit an astounding .388 against UConn, the school’s highest total since defeating South Florida in three sets on Sept. 9, 2006.
Offensive balance should become a positive trait for Tech this season, especially with the emergence of David and Cave. David is the only Tech freshman in the Big 12 era to post double-digit kills in each of her first two collegiate matches. She definitely showed why she was one of the country’s top high school recruits last year. Cave, meanwhile, reinforced what Coach Flora has said all preseason in that she could become one of the conference’s top players as she was accurate on the attack, finishing with a .453 hitting percentage over the three matches.
Several newcomers found their way into the rotation and that will be a common theme throughout the season. Of the 19 players that are not redshirting this season, only four of those are listed as a junior or senior. That will provide numerous opportunities to underclassmen, especially in the middle.
Make sure you look at texastech.com this week as there will be several stories and videos posted previewing this weekend’s tournament.
Learning. I believe that’s the term I’ve heard nearly every 20 minutes of the practices I have attended so far. Good thing, too, because it really showed at last night’s Red and Black scrimmage.
Coach Flora and his staff has introduced several new concepts and systems over the past week, and with a group that currently consists of 11 newcomers, the real question has been how quickly the team would pick up the information.
“The amount of learning that has taken place this week has been phenomenal,” Flora told me. “I’ve been really impressed with how quickly the team has picked up on our systems and terminology and it should make for an exciting season.”
Breeann David and Miara Cave were two of the Red Raiders that Coach Flora praised after last night’s scrimmage. The duo should both provide solid attacking options for Tech in addition to returning All-Big 12 standout Amanda Dowdy.
In between practice and the scrimmage yesterday afternoon, the team shot several videos. One was for the “Fire Up” video that plays right before the starting lineup at home matches, while the other, which will debut on texastech.com next week, will give a brief introduction to all of Tech’s new players.
We are now officially two weeks away from the start of the 2011 season, and I think all involved are excited and ready. Continue to keep up with the action at texastech.com as we will have more information pouring out this next week to get everyone ready for the season.
Ever since he was hired in January, Don Flora has described reporting day as his “other” Christmas. That’s just the excitement the first-year head coach has going into this season.
That excitement was evident tonight as 23 players reported for the start of fall camp. While reporting day normally consists of a series of meetings with various departments, you could see a look of excitement from players throughout the room, both veterans and newcomers.
If you can’t tell by the size of the reporting roster, Coach Flora wants to install a tradition of competition within the program. The next few weeks should be interesting in regards to who fits in each spot. I can say without a doubt the talent level as increased dramatically and Red Raider fans will see a different team than in years past.
Not only do we have a talented group of newcomers, but the group of returners benefitted greatly from a full spring with Coach Flora and his staff. Look out for both Tory Vaughan and Miara Cave. Coach Flora has raved about both of these juniors after the spring season and I’d fully expect them to contribute significantly this season.
As the season progresses, I’ll be right there with the team. My name is Matt Dowdy and I’m an Assistant Director for Communications here at Texas Tech, and the purpose of the blog is to keep you updated on everything Red Raider Volleyball. Sometimes it may be me chiming in or various members of the team or coaching staff.
I can honestly say as I enter my second season with the volleyball program, I could not be more excited for the start of the Don Flora Era. I think this program is headed in the right direction, and hopefully Red Raider fans will see that as well when Tech hits the court for its season opener at TCU on Aug. 26.