Texas Tech volleyball takes on Iowa State Saturday in Ames - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Texas Tech volleyball takes on Iowa State Saturday in Ames

Provided by Texas Tech Athletics Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech Volleyball continues Big 12 play Saturday as it travels to Ames, Iowa to battle Iowa State Sat., October 15, at 1 p.m. CT in Hilton Coliseum.

The match will be streamed on Cyclones.TV with live stats available at IowaState.statbroadcast.com.

Texas Tech (10-11, 0-6), who will be without the services of sophomore libero Reyn Akiu for the second straight match, is challenged with finding a way to finish sets. As has been the case many times in conference play, the Red Raiders held late leads in the first two sets of its last match against Oklahoma, but were unable to close out wins.

"We have to take that next step," head coach Tony Graystone said. "We have to keep putting ourselves in that fight and give ourselves opportunities where we can take that next step. We have to keep it close and try to find ways to finish it off."

The Red Raiders are looking to break several streaks in the matchup. Texas Tech has lost 19 straight to the Cyclones, 11 straight in Ames and are currently on a nine-game skid overall. The Red Raiders are also looking to avoid their first 0-7 start to conference play since 2011.

Iowa State (9-8, 1-4) won its last outing at South Dakota on Tuesday, 3-0. The Cyclones' lone Big 12 win came against West Virginia on September 30. Since then, Iowa State lost to No. 6 Kansas (1-3) and at No. 4 Texas (2-3). Junior outside hitter Alex Conaway leads the team offensively hitting at a .338 clip and has recorded double-digit kills in three-straight matches. As a team, the Cyclones are in the upper-half of the Big 12 in opponent hitting percentage (.198) and kills per set (13.73) and tops in the league in digs per set (16.56).

Texas Tech trails the all-time series with Iowa State, 20-23, with the Cyclones currently on a 19-match win streak against the Red Raiders dating back to 2006.  Last season, Texas Tech fell to the Cyclones by scores of 1-3 at home and 0-3 in Ames, where the Red Raiders are 10-11 all-time. The Red Raiders won 16 of the first 17 matchups between the two squads in a series that dates back to 1989, but the Red Raiders last win was a 3-2 victory in 2006, and their last win in Ames was in 2004.

The Red Raiders suffered a narrow 0-3 defeat to Oklahoma Wednesday at United Supermarkets Arena. Texas Tech held a 23-20 lead in the first set before the Sooners rallied to take the frame (28-26). The Red Raiders led 19-17 in the second set and were tied 21-21 before Oklahoma closed the set (23-25). The Sooner defense helped them close out the third (17-25). Freshman Maggie Sagers started at libero for the first time in her career, filling in for injured Tita Akiu. Senior Lauren Douglass led the Red Raiders with 12 kills.

A trio of Red Raiders rank among the best in the Big 12 for their position. Senior Lauren Douglass is third in the conference with a .382 hitting percentage, a clip which ranks 39th nationally. Prior to her injury, sophomore Tita Akiu led the conference in total digs and remains tied for second in the conference with 4.73 digs/set. Likewise, senior setter Marguerite Grubb is one of five players in the Big 12 averaging double-digit assists/set (10.17).

Texas Tech's trip to Ames marks its eighth contest outside of Lubbock in its last eleven matches. Texas Tech is 1-6 away from home during that span with its lone win coming in a five-set thriller at Rice. The Red Raiders started 4-0 on the road this season before droppings its last four contests at UTSA, TCU, Baylor and No. 6 Kansas. Texas Tech's four road wins this season are already its most in a single year since 2011.

Aside from seniors Lauren Douglass and Marguerite Grubb, head coach Tony Graystone has trended towards starting all underclassmen in the last four matches. In fact, sophomore Kyndal Cowan started in place of Grubb at No. 6 Kansas, making Douglass the only upperclassmen in the starting lineup. Sophomores Tita Akiu and Katy Keenan have started every match this season, while fellow sophomore Sarah Redding and freshmen Toni McDougald, Chandler Atwood and Maggie Sagers have been regulars in the starting lineup as well. Atwood (2.31) and McDougald (2.27) rank second and third on the team in kills/set, respectively, while Keenan ranks second on the team in hitting percentage (.288). Freshman Maggie Sagers started at libero for the first time in her young career against Oklahoma, filling in for the injured Akiu, which also allowed freshman defensive specialist Kylie Rittimann to make her fifth start this season.

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