LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - There was a glimpse of play to come this afternoon, as Texas Tech battled No. 10 Illinois hard, particularly in the first two sets, before succumbing to a 3-0 loss to the Big 10 squad at the Red Raiders' final match at the Bluejay Invitational.
Amanda Dowdy, playing outside hitter this season, finished with seven kills to lead Texas Tech and added a pair of service aces, and three digs. The sophomore took a team-high 29 attempts as well. Sophomore Karlyn Meyers posted 17 assists and a kill in the effort as well. But, it was Tech's blocking game which showed the most improvement, out-pacing the Illini seven to five. Junior Barbara Conceicao led the net effort for the Red Raiders with two block solos and three block assists, to go with Meyer's solo block and two assists.
"At this point in the season I told the team before the match, 'I'm looking for the right combination of players' and then I told them that the combination meant not only talent, but willingness to put team ahead of self and display heart and passion for this game regardless of the score," head coach Trish Knight said after the match. "I was very pleased with the effort, particularly in the first set, and especially against a team as tough as Illinois."
A shift in the lineup meant that senior Caroline Witte started at a new position, outside hitter, and she responded with a pair of kills in 13 attempts and a block assist to go with six digs along the back row.
"I'm going to be trying different things until we get everyone understanding where they can best contribute. Witte was able to give us a little something in those first two sets and now we just have to focus on consistency and learning our defensive schemes," Knight said.
Because the tournament was shortened when Tulane had to pull out at the last minute, the Red Raiders competition at the tournament has concluded. Host Creighton plays Illinois this evening at 7 p.m. to determine the champion of the three-team event. After that match an all-tournament team will be named.
Tech returns home tomorrow and will immediately begin preparing for a four-match week as the team travels to Texas State for a 6:30 p.m. match in San Marcos before heading to New Orleans for tournament play over the Labor Day weekend.