Big 12 conference play begins

LUBBOCK, Texas - The challenge for the 2009 Texas Tech Volleyball team doesn't get any less arduous as the Red Raiders begin conference play this week in Lincoln, Neb. on Wednesday, Sept. 16, before returning home to face Texas A&M in its home opener on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 2 p.m. Four of the 11 teams in the Big 12 are ranked in the nation's top 25 and two others, including Texas A&M, are receiving votes.

The match with Nebraska will be video streamed and the link appears on the schedule page for Texas Tech or from the Volleyball Information Central page accessed to the right of the main Volleyball page on this Web site.

For the Red Raiders a 2-7 non-conference schedule is frankly disappointing to first-year head coach Trish Knight.

"I think we were in a number of matches, especially this past weekend, where one or two key plays wound up determining the result. A team can't let that happen, consistency has to be a part of its culture," she said. "We're working hard and I'm very proud of this group for not giving up. I expect great things and I've been hard on them and will continue to be that way until we begin to do the little things well all the time."

No. 8 Nebraska is 8-2 on the season and will host the Red Raiders on their home floor in Lincoln at the NU Coliseum. Perpetually among the nation's leaders in attendance, the facility will be an exciting venue for several of the newcomers who highlight the Tech team.

Junior middle blocker Barbara Conceicao, who transferred to Tech after an all-american junior college career, leads the Big 12 in blocks per set with a 1.57 mark and is currently ranked fourth in the nation in the category. Returning sophomore Amanda Dowdy, who this year moved from middle to the outside hitter position, leads the conference in service aces and is ranked sixth in points. (Points are determined by adding kills, digs, aces, assists and blocks together.) As a team, Tech ranks third in the conference in blocks per set at a 2.67 clip and is fourth in service aces.

The Red Raiders don't have history to lean on in the series with Nebraska, as the Huskers have won 30 of 31 meetings between the teams regardless of where the match is played. Tech's only win was during the 1996 season.

Texas A&M begins conference play with the match at Tech with an 8-1 non-conference record.

Goehry (who played her first three seasons as Jenn Harrell before her nuptials) is climbing Tech's all-time ladder for digs in a career. She currently is eighth-best all time with 1,099, having moved into the top ten during the Tulsa tournament. (She eclipsed Erica Ruegg's 1,089 during the match with Stephen F. Austin, then overtook Ginger Carter in the match with Tulsa. We should've reported it at the time, but our math skills failed us.) The last time a player moved into this career category was Ann Romjue and Melissa McGehee whose careers spanned 1999-2002 and who were integral parts of a Red Raiders team which twice competed in the NCAA postseason.