In its sixth season under coach Reed Sunahara, the West Virginia University volleyball team is set to open the 2020 season with a pair of matches at Texas Tech.
The Mountaineers will square off with the Red Raiders on Thursday, Sept. 24, followed by a match on Friday, Sept. 25. Both contests are set to begin at 7 p.m. ET inside the United Supermarkets Arena, in Lubbock, Texas.
Both matches will be carried live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. ESPN+ is available via the ESPN App, ESPN.com or ESPNPlus.com for just $5.99 per month, or save over 30 percent with an ESPN+ Annual Plan at $49.99 per year. Current subscribers who signed up for a monthly plan at $4.99 per month will not lose their current price. You also can bundle ESPN+ with Disney+ and Hulu for $12.99 per month, and it can be canceled at any time.
Thursday marks the 19th meeting overall between the Mountaineers and the Red Raiders. TTU owns a 10-8 lead in the all-time series, with WVU’s last victory taking place on Oct. 24, 2018, at the WVU Coliseum.
Texas Tech swept West Virginia in last year’s home-and-away series, claiming a 3-1 win on Sept. 25 and a 3-2 victory on Nov. 16. The last time the Mountaineers earned a season sweep over the Red Raiders was in 2016. WVU is 3-5 against TTU in Lubbock.
A total of eight letterwinners, including five starters, return to the court this season. WVU also welcomes five freshmen and three transfers to the program. In all, the West Virginia roster is made up of players from 11 states and three different countries.
“Our kids are working their butts off, with a good attitude and a good mindset,” Sunahara said. “The good thing is that we can compete this fall. That’s what we are preaching; how fortunate we are that we can compete. We’re just taking it one day at a time. We’re making sure that we are doing everything right and our focus, right now, is Texas Tech. We’ll see what happens this weekend, and we’ll adjust from there.”
Senior middle blocker Briana Lynch was named to the 2020 All-Big 12 Preseason Team, becoming the first Mountaineer since 2017 to earn preseason recognition. The Johns Creek, Georgia, native landed on the All-Big 12 Second Team a year ago, hitting above .300 15 times to rank ninth in the league with a .301 hitting efficiency. She also averaged 2.43 kills per set and 0.90 blocks per set.
Texas Tech is led by fifth-year coach Tony Graystone, who guided the Red Raiders to a 17-13 overall record and a 7-9 mark in league play last season. Sophomore outside hitter Caitlin Dugan returns to the team after ranking second in points per set (2.75) as a freshman. Defensively, senior libero Emerson Solano also led the team with 4.01 digs per set and finished third in the conference.
Up next, the Mountaineers will return to Morgantown for their home opener against Kansas State on Thursday, Oct. 1. The match will air on ESPNU at 7 p.m. ET.