Dec. 1, 2012
“Hats off to BYU,” said head coach Santiago Restrepo. “They’re an excellent team that is extremely well coached and has great athletes. They earned the right to advance to the Omaha Regional tonight.”
The Cougars concluded the year undefeated at home with a 15-0 record in 2012.
Despite dropping the first set, the Sooners looked to have their step back in the second, with their first lead of the match in the opening minutes. Although they put together several hard fought attempts, which saw OU get within two at 23-21, it wasn’t enough as BYU took the 2-0 match lead heading into the break. The Cougars returned to the court for the third and final set with the same momentum to secure the NCAA Regional appearance.
A pair of seniors – outside hitter Morgan Reynolds and libero Maria Fernanda – ended their careers Saturday night. They conclude their four-year term as the only two Sooners to make it to the NCAA Tournament every season – a tremendous feat for the Oklahoma volleyball program.
“Our seniors are a pair of class acts,” said Restrepo. “They’re so much more than great players, they’re great role models. Hopefully our younger players will learn from all that they have done, and continue their success in the years to follow.
In her final game, Reynolds totaled eight kills, and added four block assists in the Sooners efforts.
“This year was great for our program,” explained Reynolds. Obviously doing better than last season was a huge goal of ours and we did just that.”
Fernanda went out in fashion. With her 556-dig senior performance, Fernanda holds the top-four single season performances in the OU record book. Additionally, she ends her career as the program record holder, the lone Sooner to ever total 2,000-plus digs and the fifth to accomplish the feat in the Big 12.
“Like Morgan said, our goal this year was to be better than last, and we did that tonight,” remarked Fernanda. “It’s all about working hard every day, staying focused and giving your all – and this team did that.
“Unfortunately we lost tonight, but we gave it our all in the process. I’m proud of this team, and what they’ve done this year. "
Within the Big 12 she finishes second in the Conference career record books in the respective category, and is one of two OU players on the list, joining Joanna Schmitt (2003-06) who ranks fourth in attack attempts (4,971) and ninth in kills (1,730).
Sophomore outside hitter Tara Dunn led the Sooners offensively with 10 kills against the Cougars. It marked the fourth time in as many matches that she has totaled double-digit kills, and the fourth time this season that she led her team in the respective category.
Fellow sophomore Grace Whitley had a standout performance with a career-best eight total blocks. The number bypassed the record set last night by Reynolds and Sallie McLaurin who had six a piece against Arizona State.
The Sooners finished their season with a 22-11 overall record and finished fourth in the Big 12 with a 10-6 Conference slate. 2012 marked the 16th 20-win season for OU, and fifth since Restrepo took over the program in 2004, totaling 20-or-more wins in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011.
- Oklahoma concluded its season with a 22-11 record, en route to its fourth-straight NCAA appearance – the first time ever accomplished in program history.
- Seniors Maria Fernanda and Morgan Reynolds became the first ever Sooners to play in the NCAA tournament all four years donning the Crimson and Cream.
- The Sooners advanced to the NCAA Second Round for the fifth time in program history, and fourth time under the helm of head coach Santiago Restrepo.
- On the year, OU had never recovered from a 0-2 deficit to start the match with an 0-8 record.
- Sophomore middle blocker Grace Whitley had a career performance with eight total block assists. The number bypasses Reynolds and McLaurins OU NCAA Tournament record set last night with six a piece against Arizona State.
- Sophomore outside hitter Tara Dunn was the lone senior to hit in double digits after she totaled 10 on the night. It marked the fourth time in as many matches that she has totaled 10-or more kills, and the fifth time this season that she has led the Sooners in the respective category.
- After totaling 14 digs on the night, senior libero Maria Fernanda ended her career in the Crimson and Cream with 2,204 career digs. She is the program record holder, the lone Sooner to ever total 2,000-plus digs and the fifth to accomplish the feat in the Big 12. She ends her OU career second in the Big 12 career record books in the respective category, and is one of two OU players on the lsit, joining Joanna Schmitt (2003-06) who ranks fourth in attack attempts (4,971) and ninth in kills (1,730).
HOW IT HAPPENED: THE PLAY-BY-PLAY
The Cougars struck first in the opening set, but McLaurin answered with her first successful strike of the night to even it up, 1-1. Both teams continued to swap points, with three tie scores before either team broke the 10-point barrier, but it was BYU who held and maintained the lead. Back-to-back kills from BYU forced an Oklahoma timeout at 12-8 however, the Cougars kept the momentum to seal a 5-0 run, until a service error returned the ball to the Sooners. Oklahoma strung together a 3-1 run, but it wasn’t enough to sustain BYU who answered back with three-straight points to go up 18-11. The Sooners were never able to close the gap, despite adding points throughout the middle of the set – with block, attack and service errors slowly pushing the Cougars closer to the first set victory. A long rally looked to go in favor of the Sooners in an attempt to stall set point, but it wasn’t enough as the Cougars took the 1-0 match lead with a 25-17 finish in the opening set.
The second stanza started just like the first – as both teams evened the score four times in the first five points. OU grabbed its first lead of the match in a matter of seconds when Doyle and Whitley teamed up on the front line for a block. It’s the spark the team needed as they gained their biggest lead of the match at 9-6 to force a BYU timeout. After the break, the Cougars strung together a 4-0 run to regain the lead at 10-9. The Sooners managed to tie it up once more, but the Cougars kept their momentum with a 5-0 run to gain a lead they wouldn’t drop the remainder of the set. Oklahoma crept within two thanks to a huge block from Reynolds and Whitley at 23-21, but it wasn’t enough to sustain BYU who took the 2-0 lead and second set, 25-21.
It may have been the final set, but it didn’t begin any differently, as both teams traded points to start with three tie scores at 3-3. BYU broke away on a 4-0 to take a 10-4 lead until back-to-back Sooner blocks along with a Holst kill brought them within three at 10-7. Whitley and Dunn each added a pair of kills to bring the Sooners within two, the smallest deficit of the third set at 10-12, but the Cougars answered with 7-0 run to take a commanding 19-10 lead en route to the victory. BYU advanced to the Regional after ending the third and final set, 25-18.