NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma volleyball team advanced to its third Sweet 16 in program history Saturday afternoon with a five-set win over Tulsa (25-13, 25-22, 26-28, 20-25, 15-9). The Sooners (23-10) set team school records in hitting percentage (.335), kills (73) and assists (67) for the current scoring era (five sets). The Golden Hurricane finish the year at 31-3.
“For everyone to see these two teams going head to head, I couldn’t be more proud of the entire state of Oklahoma,” said Oklahoma head coach Santiago Restrepo. “We definitely didn’t take Tulsa lightly and we knew what they were capable of doing. Both teams went at it extremely hard.”
Junior setter Brianne Barker recorded the first triple-double in Oklahoma school history with a career-high 10 kills, 57 assists and 14 digs. Barker’s .625 hitting percentage was the best among OU’s starters.
Freshman Sallie McLaurin recorded the third double-double of her career with 16 kills and 10 total blocks. Maria Fernanda added a match-high 28 digs and her ninth career kill. Five Sooners netted double-digit kills. In addition to Barker and McLaurin, Caitlin Higgins (18), Morgan Reynolds (15) and Suzy Boulavsky (10) all got on the board for the Sooners.23 digs.
McLaurin’s nine block assists mark the second time in the last four matches, she aided on nine blocks. She previously did so at Missouri on Nov. 24. Reynolds’ 15 matched a career-best set against Kansas State earlier this season and Higgins’ total tied her career-high set against Michigan State in 2008. Her four block assists also tied a career-high set at Baylor in 2008.
Tyler Henderson led Tulsa with 24 kills. The Sooners were able to hold the nation’s leading outside hitter in check, holding Henderson to a .266 hitting percentage. Kellie Culbertson had 13 kills and Diana Silva added 10 kills and 13 digs. Jordan Clampitt added 57 assists for the Golden Hurricane, who hit .217 as a team.
Oklahoma advances to play No. 4 national seed and three-time defending national champion Penn State in University Park, Pa. Match details are to be announced. The Sooners are making their third appearance in the Sweet 16 and second under Restrepo. OU previously advanced in 2006 and 1988.