NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma volleyball team is on the road for the fourth match in a row with a Wednesday night visit to Texas Tech. The action gets underway at 6 p.m. from the United Spirit Arena.
Following a pair of narrow defeats, the Sooners have won back-to-back matches and enter Wednesday night at 11-7 overall and 2-3 in the Big 12. Short-handed without senior captains Kimmy Gardiner and Micaela Spann due to injury, redshirt-senior outside hitter Madison Ward led the OU attack to two wins over West Virginia on the road. Ward posted 18 kills in each win to lift her per set average to 3.24 kills. Junior middle blocker Marion Hazelwood, who picked up Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors for her efforts, leads the defense with 1.18 blocks per set to go with 2.47 kills on a .301 hitting percentage. Five Sooners hitters are averaging better than 2.40 kills per set due to the efforts of sophomore setter Audrey Alford. She is averaging 10.98 assists per set. In the absence of Gardiner at WVU, Alford and Ward each picked up their third double-double of the season.
Texas Tech is an even 10-10 under first-year head coach Tony Graystone, but winless in the Big 12 at 0-5 with just one set won following a 3-0 loss at Kansas on Saturday. The Red Raiders last won on September 14 at Rice and their last home win came on September 10 against Oral Roberts. Outside hitter Lauren Douglass leads the Texas Tech offense with 3.07 kills per set on a .385 hitting percentage with 1.10 blocks per set. Setter Marguerite Grubb has dished out 10.08 assists and picked up 2.16 digs per set. Reyn Akiu has taken over the libero position this season and leads the defense with 4.80 digs per set.
All-Time vs. Tech
Despite a stretch of 19 straight wins over the Red Raiders, up until last season, the Sooners still trail the all-time series, 36-34. Texas Tech snapped OU’s win streak in Lubbock on September 23, 2015 in the Big 12 opener. At home, Oklahoma leads the series, 18-13. Under Santiago Restrepo, the Sooners own a 20-3 record; having gone a decade between losses.
Last Time They Met
Oklahoma snapped a four-game slide with a 3-0 win over Texas Tech at McCasland Field House on October 28, 2015. The Sooners trailed 20-15 in the first set before storming back to win, 27-25. The next two sets wins came by scores of 25-19 and 25-23. Madison Ward notched a match-leading 12 kills, including seven in set two, and finished one dig shy of a double-double.
Sophomores Stepping Up
Sophomore outside hitters Madison Drescher and Alyssa Enneking have been pressed into larger roles in the Sooner rotation over recent weeks. With injuries to two starters, the sophomore combo has slid into the starting lineup together rather than sharing a spot. Drescher has been forced to play out of position at middle blocker and has immediately made her presence known. She is hitting a team-best .350 over the last three matches with 1.50 kills and 1.00 blocks per set. Meanwhile, Enneking is averaging 4.30 digs and 3.10 kills per set as she remains in the game to pass and play the back row. She posted two double-doubles at West Virginia with 12 kills and 11 digs in the opener and followed with 16 kills and a career-high 28 digs in the finale.
By the Numbers: OU vs. TTU
In four matches over the last two seasons, Marion Hazelwood has hit .500 against Texas Tech. In her first match against the Red Raiders, she knocked down 15 kills with one error on 19 attempts to hit .737 to set an OU record for hitting percentage in a four-set match in the 25-point, rally-scoring era. Hazelwood has hit .333 or better in all three matches and added 1.13 blocks per set. Madison Ward has chipped in with 3.11 kills and 2.17 digs per set in five matches against Texas Tech; having reached double figures in kills four times.
Oklahoma returns home to face Kansas State on Saturday, October 15. The Sooners and the Wildcats will battle on the hardwood at 6 p.m. following the Sooners and the Wildcats competing on the gridiron earlier in the day in Norman. Admission to the game is free.