Volleyball To Clash With Aggies, Wolf Pack
Oct. 20, 2010
RUSTON, La. - The Louisiana Tech volleyball team hits the road this week with a pair of conference matches against Utah State and Nevada. The Lady Techsters will first square off against Utah State Thursday night at 8 p.m. in Logan, Utah before concluding the west coast swing with a Saturday night match against Nevada.
"It's a challenge to play in this league and what we want to keep doing try to improve bit by bit every single weekend until we can break through," said Louisiana Tech head coach Matt Sonnichsen. "We keep having these close games and our athletes know that they are just one or two rallies away, a touch call or a perfect pass - I think everybody knows how close they are and they are showing a lot of patience and tenacity in trying to grind and find a way to break through."
Louisiana Tech is 10-12 on the season with a 0-7 record against WAC foes after dropping a pair of matches last week against Idaho and Boise State.
Senior middle blocker Kara Jones headlines the Tech offensive attack with a team-high .282 attack percentage while averaging 3.05 kills per set against conference opponents. Libero Lori Hunsucker anchors the Tech defense with her WAC leading 5.19 digs per set while Jones, Gabby Ording and Taylor Fritz have all notched 30-plus blocks on the season.
Seeking their first conference win of the season, Tech first takes on a veteran-laden Utah State squad that boasts 11 returning letterwinners and their entire starting lineup from last season.
Louisiana Tech and Utah State have met on 10 prior occasions with the Aggies holding a 9-1 advantage in the series. Last season Louisiana Tech knocked off the Aggies for the first time in school history courtesy of a five-set win in Ruston to open conference play. In their second meeting last season, Utah State swept past Tech in three sets.
"There were a lot of young teams in the conference last year and Utah State was one of them," said Sonnichsen. "Utah State is a very challenging place to play and they have very supportive fans. We played one good game there last season and a couple that we didn't play so well. Hopefully we will play better this year because they are a very good team."
Off to their fourth-best start in program history, Utah State (14-5, 2-4) fell on the road to Nevada in four sets in their only match of last week. The Aggie offense is powered by junior outside hitter Liz McArthur who has a team-high 327 kills in addition to her .251 attack efficiency. In total, the Aggies feature a high-octane offense that has a hitting percentage of .234 with five student-athletes hitting over the .240 mark. The Utah State defense is led by Christine Morrill who ranks second in the WAC with 4.59 digs per set.
The final stop on the two-game road trip will pit the Techsters against the Wolf Pack of Nevada.
Nevada enters the week sitting in third place in the conference standings with a 10-10 record and a 4-3 mark against WAC opponents. The Wolf Pack split a pair of matches last week winning at home against Utah State in four sets and falling on the road to New Mexico State in straight sets.
"Nevada presents a very challenging environment," said Sonnichsen. "Nevada's gym is one of the smallest that I've played in at a NCAA Division I match which creates a great home court advantage for them. It's tough to get comfortable in their gym and our team didn't play well there last year. The fans are right on the floor, they are loud and Nevada has a tremendous home court advantage."
Louisiana Tech and Nevada have met on 14 prior occasions with the Wolf Pack holding a 13-1 advantage in the series. Last season Louisiana Tech knocked off the Wolf Pack for the first time in school history courtesy of a sweep in Ruston while Nevada closed out the Louisiana Tech conference slate with a sweep in Reno.
Nevada is led by Senior outside hitter and preseason all-WAC honoree Kylie Harrington who leads the team with 3.34 kills per set on a .169 attack efficiency. With four student-athletes totaling 145-plus kills, the Nevada offense is run through setter Tatiana Santiago who ranks sixth in the WAC with 9.85 assists per set. Defensively Nevada ranks last in the WAC in digs per set while allowing opponents to hit at a .215 clip on average.
The Lady Techsters will return from the west coast trip Sunday night and begin preparation for a pair of non-conference matchups with Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Houston Baptist next week before resuming conference play against No. 4 Hawai'i.
For complete coverage of Lady Techster volleyball, please visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com and follow sports information contact, Austin Staton, twitter for the latest and most current news.