NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma volleyball team returns home after four consecutive matches on the road. The Sooners welcome Kansas State to McCasland Field House on Saturday, October 15 at 6 p.m. Admission is free.
Oklahoma has rattled off three consecutive wins following a sweep of Texas Tech in Lubbock on Wednesday evening. The Sooners are 12-7 overall and an even 3-3 in the Big 12. Senior middle blocker Micaela Spann returned to the OU lineup at Tech after a three-match absence. She currently leads all Big 12 hitters with a .420 attack rate and is averaging 2.51 kills per set. Spann played error free through two sets against the Red Raiders and finished the night hitting .500 with nine kills and just one error. Redshirt-senior Madison Ward has been the team’s most dangerous offensive weapon with a 3.18 kills per set average. Sophomore setter Audrey Alford leads the offense with 11.04 assists per set, while redshirt-sophomore libero Rachel Manriquez guides the back row with 3.16 digs per set.
Kansas State enters the weekend at 14-5 overall and 3-3 in the Big 12 following a sweep at the hands of No. 6 Kansas in Lawrence on Wednesday. Earlier this season, the Wildcats put together a string of 10 wins in a row through their Big 12 opener before suffering a three-set setback at Baylor. K-State is second in the league in hitting at .257. Bryna Vogel hits a team-high .317 with 2.91 kills per set. Kylee Zumach and Brooke Sassin are each ahead of her in kills with 3.08 and 3.03 per set, respectively. Setter Katie Brand manages the Wildcat attack to the tune of 11.79 assists per set, which leads the Big 12.
Last Time They Met
Oklahoma erased a two sets to none deficit before falling in the fifth, 15-11, in Manhattan last November. Ultimately, it was an 8-0 run for the home team in the deciding set that made the difference. Brand dished out 60 assists in the K-State win to Alford’s 55, which set a personal best at the time; coming in just her second career. OU outside hitter Kierra Holst led all players with 17 kills. Sassin and Vogel tallied 15 kills apiece as each posted a double-double with dig totals of 16 and 14, respectively.
All-Time vs. K-State
The Sooners hold a significant advantage over the Wildcats in the all-time series, 53-29-1. OU twice defeated a ranked K-State squad in 2012 and earned a split in the season series in 2013 and 2014. Since 2006, Oklahoma has won 13 of 20 match-ups. The first contest between the two programs was a 1-1 tie in Lawrence, Kan. in 1975. The home team has won nine of the last 11 match-ups and had won four straight until the first meeting in 2015 when the Wildcats won in Norman.
By The Numbers: OU vs. KS
Middle blockers Micaela Spann and Marion Hazelwood have both hit better than .280 in their career against Kansas State. Spann has hit .282 in six matches with a 2.32 kills per set average. She has reached double figures three times and hit over .400 twice. In four matches, Hazelwood is a .280 hitter with a 2.47 kill and 1.40 blocks per set average. She posted a 15-kill, 11-block double-double against the Wildcats on November 11, 2015.
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.
Redshirt-senior outside hitter Madison Ward continues to rack up the kills in her Sooner career. She has totaled 191 to date this season, including a season-best 22 against Mississippi State (9/3). Ward’s career total stands at 953, putting her 47 away from becoming the 14th player in program history to reach the 1,000-kill mark. She has also totaled 687 digs and 195 blocks in 103 matches played.