#6 WT Opens 2014 with the BritKare Lady Buff Classic in Canyon

CANYON --  The #6 Lady Buffs of West Texas A&M will open-up their 2014 season this weekend as they host the seventh annual BritKare Lady Buff Classic at the WTAMU Fieldhouse “The Box” and the First United Bank Center in Canyon in the 10-team event. The Lady Buffs will face off with regional foes Adams State, Colorado Mesa, UC-Colorado Springs and Regis.
The #6 Lady Buffs claimed the program’s 18th conference championship, eighth straight and 15th overall LSC Tournament title along with WT’s 13th Regional Championship, the third straight, in 2013 before falling in the National Semifinals in a five set thriller to BYU-Hawaii.  The Lady Buffs were 35-4 overall during the 2013 campaign and a flawless 16-0 in league play to mark the 15th time WT has finished the LSC season unbeaten since 1986. WT was picked atop of the LSC Preseason Poll announced on July 22nd with senior Kameryn Hayes being tabbed the league’s Preseason Setter of the Year.
The Lady Buff return four starters with Hayes and 2013 AVCA Honorable Mention All-American Lauren Bevan joined by a pair of AVCA All-South Central Region selections Lexi Davis and Lauren Britten. WT head coach Jason Skoch, the 2013 LSC and South Central Region Coach of the Year, enters his sixth season at the helm of the Lady Buffs in 2014 carrying an overall career record of 304-45 (.868, 11th year) including a 168-25 (.863) mark in Canyon.
The Lady Buffs will play 33 scheduled matches during the regular season including 16 Lone Star Conference contests, the WTAMU Fieldhouse “The Box” will see a total of 13 regular season contests during the season with eight of those coming in league play. The 2013 Lady Buffs finished the season with an overall record of 35-4 with a perfect 16-0 mark in LSC play to claim the league title while going 22-0 in the friendly confines of “The Box”.
The Lady Buffs are no-stranger to starting off the season on a high-note, WT is 29-5 all-time in season opening games including an impressive 25-1 when the Lady Buffs open-up the season at home. The lone loss came in 2012 when WT fell to Adams State in four sets during the Lady Buff Classic.
The WTAMU Fieldhouse “The Box” boasts one of the most successful home-court advantages in the history of NCAA Volleyball on any level. The Lady Buffs finished off the 2013 season with a 30 match home win streak that they will carry into the 2014 campaign dating back to a five set loss to Tarleton State on 9/28/12. WT is an amazing 420-59 all-time at The Box for a winning percentage of over 89%.
The Grizzlies of Adams State wrapped up last season with a 17-13 overall record and a 13-6 conference mark. The team advanced into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament before ultimately falling to Metro State via a sweep in the Championship match. Junior Lindsey Stindt and sophomore Nina Mody-Bailey return as the top two attackers for the Grizzlies as the duo combined for 357 kills a season ago while sophomore Savannah Smith also returns looking to build off of her successful freshman campaign which included a team-best 358 digs. The Grizzlies are led by 10th year head coach Lindy Mortensen, her 129-124 overall record is second in the ASU all-time wins list. The Lady Buffs lead the all-time series against Adams State, 6-2 with WT topping the Grizzlies in a five set thriller during their last meeting at the 2013 Colorado Premiere in Denver. ASU handed the Lady Buffs their only season opening defeat at home back in 2012 in a four set decision at the WTAMU Fieldhouse “The Box” during the BritKare Lady Buff Classic.
The Mavericks of Colorado Mesa finished the 2013 campaign with an overall record of 21-8 with a 13-6 mark in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference to finish tied for second place. The Mavericks return senior middle blocker Melissa Hess who was an AVCA Honorable Mention All-American in 2013 while being named to the Preseason All-RMAC Team. Colorado Mesa is led by 10th year head coach Dave Fleming, in nine seasons he has guided the Mavs to three NCAA Division II National Tournament berths and three RMAC West Division titles. The Lady Buffs are 4-1 all-time against the Mavericks with WT claiming the last four meetings dating back to 1989.
UC-Colorado Springs finished the 2013 campain with an overall record of 11-16 with a 7-12 mark in RMAC play to finish tied for ninth in league play. The Mountain Lions return junior outside hitter Kim Catlett who leads the returners after 26 starts last season and 2.37 kills and 3.19 digs per set. UC-Colorado Springs is led by second year head coach Chrissy Elder. The Lady Buffs are a perfect 2-0 all-time against the Mountain Lions with WT sweeping UCCS in last year’s BritKare Lady Buff Classic.
The Rangers of Regis University enter the 2014 season following a strong 2013 campaign that saw the team finish 18-13 overall and make an appearance in the NCAA South Central Region Tournament. The Rangers return senior defensive specialist Maya Kirkeby who was named the RMAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year while teammates Katie Klein and Caitie Breaux were each honored on the Preseason All-RMAC Team. Regis is led by 28th year head coach Frank Lavrisha, leading the team to their 17th NCAA Postseason appearance in 2013. The Lady Buffs are 11-9 all-time against the Rangers with WT taking the last meeting between the two teams as the Lady Buffs ended RU’s season in the NCAA South Central Regional Semifinals in Canyon.
The West Texas A&M Athletic Media Relations Department will provide live stats for alll tournament matches with a free video webstream of WT matches that can be viewed on mobile devices. For links, please visit the Lady Buff Volleyball schedule page at GoBuffsGo.com. A tournament central website is also available with a complete schedule of games for the BritKare Lady Buff Classic, visit GoBuffsGo.com for more information.

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