NORMAN, Okla. - Coming off a fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, 10th-year head coach Santiago Restrepo and his Sooners start the road to Seattle Friday at the Holiday Inn West Invitational, hosted by Western Michigan. Oklahoma’s season gets underway with a 4:00 pm contest against Milwaukee, followed by a Saturday doubleheader against Northwestern (9:00 am) and WMU (6:00 pm).
About the Sooners... Oklahoma reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago and finished the season 22-11 overall, following a 3-2 win over Arizona State and a 3-0 loss to BYU in the tournament. The Sooners return an experienced, veteran group for the 2013 season. All-America and unanimous All-Big 12 Preseason Team honoree Sallie McLaurin returns for her senior season after leading OU with a team-high .357 kill percentage and 2.83 kills per set average. She enters the season with 913 career kills, ranking fourth most among active players in the Big 12.
Against the Field... The Sooners own a combined 3-2 record against this weekend’s competition. The most common opponent is Western Michigan. Through four contests the two teams are even, 2-2, including a 3-0 win for OU at the Sooners’ 2012 NIKE Invitational. Oklahoma has also claimed a victory over Northwestern in 1999, a three-set sweep; the only match-up between the two schools. Friday’s season opener against UW-Milwaukee will mark the first match-up in program history.
Up Next... Oklahoma returns to Norman for the home opener at McCasland Field House against Arkansas on Tuesday, September 3 at 7:00 pm.
Against the Big Ten... All-time, Oklahoma is 17-17-2 in 36 matches against Big Ten opponents. The Sooners lone match-up with Northwestern was a 3-0 loss on September 18, 1999. Under Restrepo, OU is 2-3 against the Big Ten, including a 3-1 win over Michigan State in the 2008 season opener and a 3-0 win over Indiana in 2005. Last season, Oklahoma fell in its only match against a Big Ten opponent went it faced former Big 12 rival and No. 1 Nebraska.
The Slate... The Sooners’ schedule features 12 home matches at McCasland Field House and 12 matches against eight teams that competed in the NCAA Tournament in 2012. In the first month of action, OU takes on four opponents that reach the NCAA Tournament; Arkansas (Sept. 3), BYU (Sept. 7), Tulsa (Sept. 17) and LIU Brooklyn (Sept. 20). The remaining NCAA opponents will all come from the Big 12.
Milestone Marker... Sallie McLaurin needs 87 kills to become the next player in program history to reach the 1,000-kill mark. Santiago Restrepo enters 2013 with a 292-189 record, putting him just eight wins away from 300 as he begins his 17th season as a collegiate head coach. The Oklahoma volleyball program, now in its 40th season, is only five wins away from 700 since the team’s inception in 1974.
Preseason Pair... Sallie McLaurin was named a unanimous selection to the 2013 Big 12 Preseason Team and was joined by sophomore Kierra Holst.