TTU Volleyball hosts West Virginia Saturday - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

TTU Volleyball hosts West Virginia Saturday

Provided by Texas Tech Athletics Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech Volleyball returns to United Supermarkets Arena for the first time in two weeks as it welcomes West Virginia for its Big 12 home opener on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 1 p.m.

The Red Raiders (10-6, 0-1) are coming off a 3-1 loss at TCU Wednesday in which they battled without several key players. Senior setter Marguerite Grubb did not make the trip to Fort Worth after suffering an ankle injury in the final match of the Roadrunners Classic last week in San Antonio, and freshman Toni McDougald was a last-minute scratch with an illness. The Red Raiders, however, battled to a 1-1 stalemate with the Horned Frogs through two sets, before ultimately falling 14-25, 25-22, 13-25, 14-25.

West Virginia (8-6, 0-1) enters following a 3-1 loss to Texas to open conference play. The Mountaineers won the first set, before Texas rebounded to claim the next three sets for a 26-24, 26-28, 18-25, 15-25 loss. Under the direction of second-year head coach Reed Sunahara, West Virginia is led by freshman Payton Caffrey, who has earned Big 12 Rookie of the Week accolades twice this season, averaging 4.96 kills per set. Reining Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week Mia Swanegan leads the defense, averaging 1.54 blocks per set.

“West Virginia is a quality team,” head coach Tony Graystone said. “They are very well coached and young like we are. They are getting better every week. They have a really nice freshman, who is kind of running things right now for them. They went four sets with Texas earlier this week, so we know they can play. For us, who we play is almost irrelevant at this point. If we are taking care of our side of the net, we will be happy.”

Texas Tech won both meetings between the two schools last season in three sets and leads the all-time series, 6-4. The Red Raiders have won their Big 12 home opener in each of the last two seasons.

The match will be streamed on TexasTech.tv with live stats available at TexasTech.statbroadcast.com.

Saturday’s match is Youth Day, meaning free admission for all kids 12 and under. Tickets at the door are $5 each, $3 for ages 13-17. Texas Tech students receive free admission when they swipe their student ID at the door. A reminder that the clear bag policy will be in effect for all Texas Tech athletic events.

INSIDE THE SERIES
The Red Raiders lead the all-time series with West Virginia, 6-4, after a pair of straight-set wins over the Mountaineers in 2015. The Red Raiders’ win in Morgantown last year snapped a four-match skid against West Virginia. The Red Raiders are 2-2 against the Mountaineers at home. Overall, Tech and West Virginia are knotted at four wins each since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12.

PROTECT THIS HOUSE
Texas Tech is an impressive 5-0 at home so far in 2016 with sweeps over UTEP, Abilene Christian and UT Rio Grande Valley. The Red Raiders have also topped Stephen F. Austin and Oral Roberts in four sets on their way to claiming the Texas Tech Invitational title. The Red Raiders have won their Big 12 home opener in each of the last two seasons, defeating Oklahoma in five sets last season after topping TCU in four sets in 2014.

FILLING IN
With senior setter Marguerite Grubb out with an injury, Texas Tech relied on two underclassmen to fill the void left by the Big 12’s fifth leading assister at TCU. Freshman Sophia Canales, who was on the travel squad for the first time all season in Fort Worth, led the team with 15 assists against the Horned Frogs while sophomore Kyndal Cowan added 13 assists in her first career start. Junior Audrey Fragniere also started for the first time this season, replacing freshman Toni McDougald in the lineup, who was a last-minute scratch in Fort Worth with a stomach bug. Fragniere responded with six kills on 28 attempts, four digs and 1.5 blocks. Additionally, the Red Raiders are hoping to get sophomore Sarah Redding, who hasn’t played since opening weekend, back from injury.

DEFENSIVE DUO
After surrendering hitting percentages of .326 and .404 in their first two losses on the season, the Red Raiders showed tremendous improvement defensively during its 10-match win streak, holding opponents to under .200 hitting in eight of the ten wins. The combination of senior Lauren Douglass at the net and sophomore Reyn Akiu in the back has proven a tough code to crack. Akiu (4.98 digs/set) ranks second in the conference in digs/set and her 289 total digs is sixth nationally, while Douglass (1.17 blocks/set) ranks fourth in blocks/set.

DURING THE STREAK
Over the course of its 10- match win streak, Texas Tech earned five sweeps along the way, including three in the course of a week against North Dakota, UTEP and Abilene Christian. The Red Raiders held its opponents to a hitting percentage of below .200 in all but one match during the run, twice holding foes to under .100.

ON POINT
Texas Tech hit .507 (42-6-71) in a sweep of Abilene Christian, marking the first time since the 1998 season the Red Raiders have hit over .500 in a single match. The .507 hitting percentage matched the fourth-highest hitting percentage in school history and is the highest offensive output in the Big 12 this season.

IN THE RECORD BOOK
Seniors Marguerite Grubb and Lauren Douglas didn’t waste any time planting themselves in the Texas Tech record book this season. In the Red Raider’s first match of 2016, Grubb compiled 52 assists to crack the school’s all-time top 10 list in assists. Douglas made a mark of her own in a win against Portland State, powering her way to 17 kills with a .773 hitting percentage, a clip that ranks as her career-best and sixth all-time in a single match in the Texas Tech record books.

FORCE IN THE MIDDLE
Leading the pack in the middle for the Red Raiders is two-time All-Big 12 honoree and All-Southwest Region award winner Lauren Douglass, who returns for her final year in the scarlet & black after rattling off a school-record hitting percentage of .377 last season. Douglass is currently hitting at a .402 clip, which ranks second in the conference and 23rd nationally.

SET UP ARTIST
In 2015, Marguerite Grubb put up 1,007 assists, becoming the first Red Raider to record 1,000+ assists in a single season since Emily Ruetter in 2013. She cracked the school’s all-time top 10 list in assists in the Red Raider’s first match of 2016, compiling 52 assists against Colorado. Overall, Grubb has dished out 533 assists in 15 matches this season and ranks fifth in the conference with 10.25 assists/set.

YOUNG PASSERS
Sophomores Reyn Akiu and Katelyn Bryant and freshman Maggie Sagers have stepped in at the libero/defensive specialist position, providing solid play in the back line. Akiu has consistently been one of the Big 12’s top performers with a conference-leading 289 digs and ranks second in the Big 12 with 4.98 digs/set. She has led the Big 12 in digs each of the last two weeks with 80 and 68, respectively. Bryant has also been terrific defensively with 131 digs, while Sagers has chipped in 87 of her own.

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