Coach talks to players during timeout

Tony Graystone, head coach of the women's volleyball team, talks to the players during a time out at the Tech vs Kansas volleyball game in United Supermarkets Arena on Sept. 24, 2021.

Texas Tech volleyball officially started regular season play on Friday, opening up its season at the Irish invitational Aug. 26-27. They took on two different opponents at the tournament, playing the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Milwaukee Panthers. 

The Red Raiders used experience on the team as a competitive advantage over the tournament weekend with 893 sets played among returning players. 

Tech took on Notre Dame in their opening match of the tournament. The Red Raiders won the match in four sets (3-1), and outscored the fighting Irish 93-75 overall. 

The Red Raiders opened up the match with six blocks in the early part of the first set, establishing a defensive rhythm from the start. Notre Dame struggled to adjust to the strong defensive play as they committed 11 attack errors, helping to give Tech a first set win by a score of 25-16.

In the second set, Notre Dame rebounded with multiple scoring runs as they put up points in bunches. Despite a late timeout, the Red Raiders couldn't salvage the set and Notre Dame would take it by a score of 25-18.

All Big-12 first team player Kenna Sauer stepped up in the third and fourth sets for Tech, putting up a double-double against the Fighting Irish and helping the Red Raiders to take the two sets by scores of 25-17 in the third and 25-19 in the fourth. 

Tech closed out the invitational with a clean win against Milwaukee, taking the match in three straight sets. A balanced approach helped the Red Raiders, who had five players with at least seven kills on the game. 

Despite 14 more attacks by Milwaukee, Tech's efficiency allowed them to separate themselves on offense, amassing a hitting percentage of .408. Fifth-year middle blocker Brooke Kanas helped to bolster that percentage, putting up nine kills on just 11 attacks. 

All-Big 12 second team player Karrington Jones also played a clean game with 8 kills on 12 attacks, as well as zero attack errors. 

Junior setter Reese Rhodes had made an impact in both games of the invitational. Against Notre Dame, her 40 assists would tie the Fighting Irish's team total, and against Milwaukee, her 35 assists were more than the Panthers' team total. 

With the back-to-back wins, the Red Raiders now start off the season with a record of 2-0. They will return to Lubbock on Tuesday for their home opener against Tarleton State.


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