LUBBOCK, TX - First-year Head Coach Trish Knight welcomed seven newcomers to the first days of team practice to introduce them to the seven returning players who headline the 2009 Red Raider volleyball team.
"We have much to cover during this our primary practice season, the first being getting used to who everyone is," joked Knight just before an early workout session. "Right now, we're concentrating of conditioning, drilling and learning our new systems and philosophies."
The seven newcomers include juniors 6-1 middle blocker Barbara Conceicao (Iowa Western CC) and 5-11 Alexxa Roberts (Frank Phillips CC), sophomore 6-2 middle blocker Michelle Kuester (Iowa Western CC) and freshmen 5-11 outside hitter Miara Cave (Live Oak, Texas), 5-6 defensive specialist Aleah Hayes (Ozark, Mo.), 5-8 defensive specialist Candice Neill (Houston) and 5-7 defensive specialist Tory Vaughan (San Antonio).
The returning players are seniors outside hitter Hayley Ball, defensive specialist Jenn Goerhy (note the name change from Harrell) and setter Caroline Witte. The junior class returnees are outside hitter Caroline Courtney and defensive specialist Jackie Vincent. The sophomore returning players are middle blocker Amanda Dowdy and setter/opposite side hitter Karlyn Meyers.
The team reported Monday, Aug. 10 for its first meetings and afternoon practices and will continue with two-a-days, with the majority of conditioning and drills being held in the morning sessions and an intense skill session in the afternoons.
"I bring in what represents a new system and some new fundamentals for many of these student-athletes, so we focus on drills and skills during these sessions. But, because we compete so quickly, our practices have to get newcomers up-to-speed that much more quickly."
The 2009 Red Raider volleyball squad will hit the road for its first pre-conference matches at a tournament in Omaha, Neb. The team's first competition will be versus the host Creighton on Friday, Aug. 28 at 6:30 p.m. CDT. Texas Tech does not host its first home match until a Saturday, Sept. 19 match with Big 12 Conference rival Texas A&M.