LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech volleyball team continues its run in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship as it takes on UC Irvine (24-7,10-6 Big West) in the quarterfinal round on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 4 p.m. at TCU’s University Recreation Center.
The contest is the first of three NIVC matches to take place at TCU this week. The Horned Frogs (14-16, 4-12) host Green Bay (17-15, 9-7 Horizon) in the other quarterfinal matchup Wednesday at 7 p.m., with the two winners from Wednesday to square off in the semifinals Thursday at 7 p.m.
The Red Raiders (17-14, 4-12) advanced to the quarterfinal round with a pair of impressive showings in the San Marcos regional last week, sweeping both SMU and Texas State to mark the first time in program history Tech has been victorious in consecutive postseason matches.
Making its first postseason appearance since 2001, Texas Tech received big outings from sophomores Chandler Atwood and Emily Hill as the duo combined for 37 kills in the first round against SMU and 26 more against Texas State. As a team, Tech hit a strong .320 in two matches at the regional, also receiving efficient outings from juniors Sarah Redding and Katy Keenan.
UC Irvine also went on the road to win their regional. The Anteaters defeated Sacramento State 3-0 and then topped regional host Pacific, 3-2, to advance to the quarterfinals.
UC Irvine finished third in the Big West Conference behind juniors Harlee Kekauoha, Haley DeSales and Idara Akpakpa, who were all named 2017 Big West First Team. Tech and UC Irvine share one common opponent, California, who the Anteaters beat, 3-1, in their season opener, while Tech fell to Cal by the same score on Sept. 2 in the Cal Classic.
Texas Tech and UC Irvine will be meeting for the fifth time in the history of the two schools. The Red Raiders lead the all-time series, 2-1-1, in a series that dates back to 1978. Wednesday will mark the first time the two squads face off in volleyball since 1990, when Tech took a straight-set win.
Looking around the NIVC, all three Big 12 schools that entered the field remain. West Virginia defeated Syracuse Monday to advance to the semifinals at Ole Miss. Meanwhile, TCU is a possible semifinal matchup for the Red Raiders Thursday if both teams make it past their quarterfinal foes.
- With a win Wednesday, Texas Tech would match its most win sin a season (18) since 2000.
- The match(es) this week mark the latest in December the Red Raiders have played since playing in the NCAA Tournament Second Round on December 13, 1991.
- Texas Tech is 13-2 this season against non-conference opponents.
- Tech enters Wednesday with a 5-8 overall mark in the postseason.
- The San Marcos regional was the second-toughest according to average RPIs of the four teams.
- Texas Tech swept the season series with TCU, winning
- 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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