Sept. 1, 2000

BEAUMONT, Texas - New head volleyball coach Kalani Mahi opened his inaugural season with a promising 2-0 start after the Sooners won their first two matches of the Cardinal Classic Friday to begin the season. Oklahoma defeated New Mexico State, 3-1, in a match earlier in the day and completed the first day of tournament competition, being held at the Montagne Center at Lamar University, with a 3-0 sweep of Louisiana-Lafayette in its second match. After dropping their first game to NMSU, OU rattled off six-straight games to clinch both matches.

Coach Mahi expressed his pleasure with the first two wins and the team's performance throughout the day.

"We're very excited to pick up these first two wins," said Mahi. "We started off tentative against New Mexico State, but I'm really proud of the way the team battled back and stayed focused and consistent the rest of the way."

OU's outstanding team blocking effort helped them outdistance NMSU by a 13.5 to four margin in game one. The defense also limited the Aggies to less than a .208 hitting percentage total for the final three games. Senior middle blocker Cathy Cook dominated the floor posting a match-high .652 hitting percentage, connecting on 17 of 23 attacks. Fellow senior middle blocker Holly McMillan and freshman outside hitter Logan Pierce both tallied double-double performances as McMillan landed 11 kills and assisted in a career-high 11 blocks, while Pierce added 12 kills and 10 digs in her first collegiate match.

Several other Sooners registered career-high performances during the match. Senior setter Carolyn Kittell served up a career-high five aces while dishing out 40 assists and senior outside hitter Maria Holmgren added a career-high 13 digs.

In the second match of the day, Oklahoma blanked Louisiana-Lafayette, 3-0. As a team, OU outblocked and outhit its opponent for the second-consecutive match, including an errorless second game. The squad's defense held the Ragin' Cajun offense to a .074 hitting percentage for the game.

Cook once again led the offensive attack for the Sooners landing 15 of 27 attacks for a match-high .481 hitting percentage. McMillan helped carry the offense by posting eight kills, while sophomore-transfer outside hitter Lindsay Hoyt put in a fine overall performance on the court by registering a .357 hitting percentage (5k-0e-14ta), collecting four digs and five block assists.

The Sooners end tournament play tomorrow as the team takes on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 11:30 a.m. and wraps up against host-school Lamar at 7 p.m.