LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech volleyball will cap its 2017 season with an opportunity to bring home some hardware as it faces Ole Miss in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m., at Gillom Sports Center in Oxford, Miss.
The match will air on ESPN3, which is available through WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app. Thad Anderson will be on the call along with color analyst Angela Knopf. Live stats will be provided through GameTracker.
The Red Raiders (19-14, 4-12 Big 12) have piled up four straight wins to reach the finals of the NIVC, which is in its first year of existence following a 22-year hiatus. After earning victories over SMU, Texas State and UC Irvine, Tech advanced to the championship match with a four-set win at TCU last Thursday.
Tech was one of three Big 12 teams to reach the semifinals along with TCU and West Virginia. Of the four semifinal teams, Tech was the only team to play every game of the event on the road. Meanwhile, Ole Miss (21-14, 8-10 SEC) has yet to leave home in its four games, hosting Stephen F. Austin and Arkansas State in the first two rounds before topping Georgia and West Virginia to move on to the finals.
Tuesday’s matchup will mark the third overall meeting between Texas Tech and Ole Miss with the series currently split at 1-1. Tech won the first meeting back in 1981, but the Rebels won the most recent tilt in a sweep in 2010. This will be the first time the two teams have met on either school’s home floor.
The Red Raiders are 1-1 against the Southeastern Conference this season. Tech defeated South Carolina, 3-1, at a neutral site after falling at Georgia in four sets. The Rebels went 4-1 against the Gamecocks and Bulldogs with the only loss coming in Athens, Ga. The two teams share one other common opponent in SMU, who Tech swept in the first round of the NIVC. The Bulldogs fell to the Mustangs in four sets in a tournament at Arkansas State in September.
Making its first postseason appearance since 2001, Tech has been led through the tournament by outside hitters Emily Hill and Chandler Atwood. The sophomore tandem has accounted for over 60 percent of the team’s kill total with both averaging over 4.50 kills per set. All-Big 12 Second Team setter Missy Owens is averaging 11.93 assists per set and 3.00 digs per set in the postseason, while senior Kate Klepetka has been everywhere defensively with 5.50 digs per set.
Tech’s middle blockers have also been reliable with junior Katy Keenan posting a .388 hitting percentage and 1.00 blocks per set during the four-game run, while freshman Allison White leads the team in blocking with 1.14 per set. As a team, Tech has outblocked its opponents 2.46 per set to 1.57, which has helped the Red Raiders hit .286 for the postseason while holding its foes to .167.
Ole Miss is led by sophomore outside hitter Emily Stroup. The AVCA All-Region honoree has had a strong postseason with 4.54 kills per set at a .314 clip. Stroup has 457 kills on the year while senior Kate Gibson has added 414 of her own.
- The Red Raiders are playing in their first postseason title match in program history.
- Texas Tech’s 19 wins is its most since 2000.
- The match marks the latest in December the Red Raiders have played since playing in the NCAA Tournament Second Round on December 13, 1991.
- Texas Tech is 14-2 this season against non-conference opponents.
- Tech enters Wednesday with a 7-8 overall mark in the postseason.
- The San Marcos regional was the second-toughest according to average RPIs of the four teams.
- The Red Raiders are in their first postseason tournament and have the program’s first winning season since 2001.
- Texas Tech tied for sixth in the Big 12 standings for its highest finish in the league standings since 2002.
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