Texas Tech volleyball prepping for fresh start after postseason loss

It’s a sore subject to talk about, yet it’s one Tony Graystone answers because it means his program is beginning to show progress.

Yes, the season ended with a loss — but, for the first time in more than two decades, the Texas Tech volleyball team concluded its campaign in the postseason.

That’s something to relish, but Graystone is quick to point out his team wants more.

“The optimism is off the charts,” said Graystone, who guided the Red Raiders to a 17-13 overall record and 7-9 mark in Big 12 play a season ago. “We have so many returners that, you know, it’s not hard to get them there. You know, they came in hungry and they know how last year ended. And as happy as we were about getting there, and we know we could have done more. And that stuck with them all spring, and I felt like that was a good motivator for them.”

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Texas Tech's head volleyball coach Tony Graystone watches a drill during practice, Tuesday, Aug.  9, 2022, at the United Supermarkets Arena.

The first part of that journey officially started Tuesday morning and afternoon as the Red Raiders went through a couple of practices to shake off the rust while the coaching staff got to work with several freshmen and perfect their craft.

It was a much different vibe from the beginning of the week, which required signing a bunch of forms and sitting.

“I feel like we’ve been waiting on this for a long time,” Graystone said. “Summer just kind of drags every year we get through camps and then there’s this waiting period. And (Monday), honestly, is the worst day of the year because we have meetings, and we’re all back. But we’re not doing anything really productive. And so to finally get in there this (Tuesday) morning was good.”

Kenna Sauer, who finished with a double-double of 18 kills and 18 digs in the five-set loss to Florida Gulf Coast, agreed with Graystone.

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Texas Tech's Kenna Sauer bumps the ball during practice, Tuesday, Aug.  9, 2022, at the United Supermarkets Arena.

“Yeah, everything was like really heartbreaking,” she said. “After that, a lot of fire was kind of built up. I think we had a good spring. We had a lot of instances last season. I think we shot ourselves in the foot. And coming into this year, I think we just want to eliminate all the chances that we hurt ourselves. Like if somebody’s going to beat us they’re gonna have to beat us. And we don’t beat ourselves.”

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