Sooners Sweep Past Dukes

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
SEPTEMBER 08, 2012

(8-3, 0-0)
  1 2 3 F
Oklahoma 25 25 25 3
Duquesne 17 23 20 0
Box Score

(8-4, 0-0)
 Team Statistics
 Individual Leaders
McLaurin (15)
Foschia (15)
 Hitting %
McLaurin (.519)
Farage (.389)
Doyle (41)
Henry (30)
Fernanda (24)
Scheirman (16)
Rodriguez (5)
Two with 3
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Lincoln, Neb. -- The University of Oklahoma volleyball team swept Duquesne University, 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-20), in the final match of the 2012 Ameritas Player Invitational Saturday afternoon at NU Coliseum. The Sooners will leave Nebraska with a 2-1 record on the weekend, suffering a loss to No. 1 Nebraska Thursday evening, but improves their overall record to 8-3 on the year.

“We responded very well today after being in a high-octane environment last night and ending on a high note,” explained Oklahoma head coach Santiago Restrepo. “We kept our composure when Duquesne put pressure on us, and played very well – that’s important.”

Restrepo added, “This weekend has been an excellent character builder for our team. To go along with everything these past few days, beat a ranked team the night before, then come out again today against a very well coached and talented team, and win – it’s great to see for our team.”

“I’m proud of the girls and how they came out and performed.”

Once again, junior Sallie McLaurin led the way for Oklahoma, successfully hitting 15 of her 27 swings with just one lone error to clip .519 on the day and total a team-leading 16.0 points. The Sooners’ standout performer also added one dig and two block assists against the Dukes.

“Sallie was great today,” remarked Restrepo. “Her transitioning on the court and her connection with Julia Doyle is great. She’s hitting the ball, both high and well, and to see her hit above a .500 hitting percentage is exactly what we need.”

“She should be able to put together a match like that every time she steps out on the court, and she’s capable of doing just that.”

Freshman setter, Doyle, put together the fifth 40-plus assist performance of her eight-game career in the Crimson and Cream totaling 41 of Oklahoma’s 46 assists.

Joining Doyle with a successful performance was senior libero, Maria Fernanda, who posted 24-digs against Duquesne for the fifth 20-or-more dig performance of her senior campaign, and 40th of her career.

“Maria did an excellent job,” said Restrepo. “She was great with passing the ball, and just put together a great performance. To get 24 digs in three sets – that’s good to see.”

Fernanda was joined in the back court by Keila Rodriguez who contributed 15 digs, Doyle who added seven and Caroline Weir who posted six digs in just her second match on the year for Oklahoma.
Sophomore Tara Dunn was another solid contributor for the Sooners, as the outside hitter accumulated double-digit kills against Duquesne with 10 successful attacks, contributed four digs and added one solo block to help lift her team and secure the victory.

Duquesne jumped ahead in the first set with an impressive 12-7 lead until Oklahoma strung together a 5-0 scoring run to tie it up, 13-13. The Dukes added another point to gain the advantage one last time at 14-14, but the Sooners pulled ahead with six unanswered points – sparked by a McLaurin kill – to take the first set lead, 19-14. Oklahoma never lost momentum from that point on as it maintained a six-point lead, 23-17, and looked to close the set out. Behind serves from Rodriguez, and back-to-back kills from Doyle and Dunn, the Sooners secured the first-set victory, 25-17.

The teams traded serves to open the second set, with Oklahoma finally grabbing a substantial lead at 10-6, fueled by a 3-0 scoring run. Duquesne continued to attack despite the deficit and eventually went on the board with successful kills from three separate players – Marah Farage, Allison Foschia and Mary Henry. The Dukes took that momentum and followed with a successful run that saw them get within one of the Sooners at 13-14, but OU pulled away with another 3-0 run to go ahead, 17-13.

A successful strike by Dunn put Oklahoma in position for set point at 24-21, but Duquesne wasn’t about to fold as it  followed with two unanswered points to make it, 23-24, and force an OU timeout.  The sophomore outside hitter put together one final attack in the second set to secure the set, 25-23, and take the 2-0 match lead.

The Dukes started the third stanza with a service ace thanks to Patti Abshire, and as history has a way of repeating itself, it was a back-and-forth battle early in the set. The Sooners finally pulled ahead, 7-4, off a three-point scoring run to gain a lead they would hold until the closing minutes as Duquesne battled back within one – yet again – to make it 18-17, and eventually tie-it-up, 19-19. A service ace from Dunn gave the lead back to the Sooners, 20-19 and brought renewed energy to the team, as OU strung together a 5-0 run to take the third and final set, 25-20, for the sweep.

After a grueling nine days that saw the Sooners face eight separate opponents on the road, OU returns home next weekend as it plays host to the annual Oklahoma Invitational Friday, Sept. 14, through Saturday, Sept. 15. The Invitational will include host, Oklahoma, Arkansas-Little Rock, New Mexico and SMU.

“We’re excited to come home after being on the road so long. With an 8-3 record we’re eager to get home and show Sooner nation what we have to offer.”

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