By Courtney Davis
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
With the heart of a champion and the mindset of an Olympian, Amanda Dowdy is soaring to new heights for Texas Tech's volleyball team.
As a freshman, Dowdy asserted herself atop the Conference as she was named to the All-Big 12 Freshman team after leading the Lady Raiders with 301 kills, 66 blocks, and a .286 hitting percentage.
And after spending the summer representing the United States on the Women's Junior National Team, the sophomore middle blocker expects to exceed what anyone would call a phenomenal rookie year.
"It was an amazing experience and a dream come true," Dowdy said. "I always wanted to play for Team USA and I definitely don't think there is a better way to gain experience and raise your game than playing with some of the best players in the world."
The Lexington, Texas native helped lead Team USA to a 12th place finish at the 2009 FIVB World Championships in Tijuana, Mexico after tallying 39 kills and 11 blocks in the 10-day tournament.
"The experience taught me a lot of new things," said Dowdy, a two-sport athlete at Tech (she's a high jumper on the women's track team). "It brought the game to a whole new level for me. I hope that I can bring that back here to Tech and help my team to reach our goals for the season."
And as a true champion, the bubbly Dowdy has done just that.
As her second season at Texas Tech comes to a close, the dynamic hitter leads the Lady Raiders and ranks 10th in the Big 12 with 253 kills, an average of 3.24 kills per set. She is second on the team in digs with 140 for the season.
While the numbers are nice, Dowdy is realizing the importance of being a team leader.
"Going into this season, I just want to be the best team player and all-around player I can be," Dowdy said following a recent practice. "As a team captain this year, I will hold myself at a higher standard and will to lead my team the best I can."
So what could be left to accomplish for this ambitious 20-year-old?
"I want to get my team to the NCAA tournament," said Dowdy, smiling sheepishly as if to contain her excitement.
With Coach Trish Knight's first Lady Raiders recruiting class joining the team in 2010 and Dowdy anchoring the middle, there's no doubt she will make her dream a reality before her playing days at Texas Tech are over.