The Weekly Slate
Saturday, Nov. 15
Howard McCasland Field House 5 p.m.
The Oklahoma volleyball team, which has won two of its last four matches, travels to Kansas before hosting Missouri at the Howard McCasland Field House this weekend. OU (11-15, 3-11 Big 12) squares off with a Kansas (16-9, 8-6 Big 12) team that has won two in a row. The match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on the Lawrence, Kansas, campus.
Kansas may be a bit weary when the Sooners visit. The Jayhawks have played five games in five consecutive matches, on top of going the distance in six of the last seven. Kansas is 4-3 during that span, while going 3-3 in five game matches. On the season Kansas is 6-5 in five game matches. OU wouldn’t mind pushing the host Jayhawks to five games. The Sooners are 4-1 when the match goes the distance this season, including two marathon victories in their last four contests.
When Kansas and OU met for the first time this season (Oct. 11) the Jayhawks swept the match but lost starting outside hitter Janaina Correa. Correa, who was a favorite for Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, has been out with a knee injury since that match.
Powering the Kansas offense is 2002 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Josi Lima. Lima averaged 3.7 kills per game with a .354 hitting percentage last week as KU knocked off No. 25 Missouri and Texas. Middle Blocker Ashley Michaels and outside hitter Sarah Rome are both averaging over three kills per game, while Rome also leads the Jayhawks with 3.12 digs per game. Underrated setter Andi Rozum averages 10.93 assists per game.
Oklahoma leads the all-time series 37-20 but Kansas has won 10 of the last 11 contests, including four straight.
As For The Sooners
OU snapped a couple of lengthy streaks last week in Big 12 play. The Sooners snapped an 11 match losing streak against Texas Tech with a five game victory on Oct. 5. OU also won a single game against a ranked conference opponent (No. 21 Texas A&M) for the first time since 1999,
The Sooners pushed A&M to the wire before losing the match at 34-32 in the fourth game. What makes the feat even more remarkable was that OU was without starting middle blocker Keri Coats for three games and starting right side hitter Sheena Werling for an extended period of time. Coats has been bothered by an ankle injury and tried to go but was pulled early in the second game. Werling rolled her ankle in the second game but was able to return early in the fourth session.
The momentous week for Sooner volleyball was led by senior Christina Maynes who averaged 4.56 kills per game and 3.22 digs per game over the two contests. Maynes set career-highs with 22 kills and 19 digs against Tech. She has recorded a double-double in the last two matches and three of the last four.
Freshman Joanna Schmitt turned in double-doubles in both matches last week and now has 12 on the season. She tied a career-high with 18 digs against No. 21 Texas A&M. She also became the first Sooner in rally scoring history to record 400 kills in a single season.
Filling In, Stepping Up
OU head coach Kalani Mahi acknowledged at the beginning of the season that this team was the deepest he’d ever had at OU. Mahi did point to middle blocker as one area the Sooners could not afford any major injuries.
With the loss of Tomes for the season and Adams for an extended period of time, OU shifted junior Keri Coats and sophomore Jennifer Mosso into the middle. When Coats was pulled with an ankle injury at No. 21 Texas A&M, Jennifer Adams returned to the lineup in impressive fashion. After missing six consecutive matches, Adams had eight kills and hit .500 in three games of action in College Station.
Coats, who hasn’t played middle since high school, has been exceptional since switching positions to middle blocker. Excluding the Nebraska match, when Coats struggled, she has averaged 1.95 kills per game while hitting .293 and collecting 1.10 blocks per game.
After playing 11 matches at defensive specialist OU head coach Kalani Mahi moved Maynes back to outside hitter. Since returning to the left side she has averaged 3.45 kills per game while hitting .211 and tallying a team-best 2.85 digs per game.
Schmitt Breaks Record, 400
Early in the second game against Baylor (10/29), Joanna Schmitt notched her eighth kill of the match and broke the rally scoring single season record of 342 kills held by Logan Pierce. Schmitt’s 18 kill performance at No. 21 Texas A&M pushed her over 400 kills this season. She became the first Sooner in rally scoring history to record 400 kills in a single season. She is on pace to record 505 kills and 315 digs, which would make her the sixth player in OU history to turn in a 500-300 season.
Record Turn Out
The Oklahoma volleyball team enjoyed a crowd of 3,162 for their match against No. 22 Texas A&M. The crowd spurned the Sooners on as they battled the Aggies tooth and nail. OU has never had a crowd larger than 2,000 turn out for a match. The crowd ranked in the top-10 for the week and was the 46th best turnout in the NCAA at the time.
- OU had not taken a single game from ranked conference opponent since 1999 (Kansas State) before pushing No. 21 Texas A&M four games on Saturday (11/8). OU took a game from No. 19 Washington State in the Cougar Classic, which was the first time they accomplished the feat against a non-conference opponent since 1998.
- With 10 matches remaining the Sooners have 224 total blocks, which already tops the 180 posted by the Sooners in 2002. At their current pace, OU will record 275 total blocks this season.
- OU hit above. 200 eight times last season. The Sooners have hit above .200, 12 times this season and in 12 of the last 22 contests, including both matches with Baylor. OU has hit above .200 four times since the beginning of conference play. OU is 8-4 when it hits above .200 and 2-2 when they reach the mark in conference this season.
- OU is one win shy of equaling its conference win total (4) from 2002 and doubling its season win total (6) from last season.
No More Texas Tech Hex
The Sooners ended a lengthy drought against Texas Tech on Nov. 5 and dropped the Lady Raiders into last place in conference. OU had dropped 11 consecutive matches dating back to 1998, while failing to win a single game during any of those contests. Tech still holds a hefty margin in the all-time series with a 32-12 advantage. w
The biggest surprise of the season for OU is the emergence of walk-on freshman Rachel Jackson. She leads OU with 8.67 assists per game and has broken the five game assists record three times. Jackson broke the record for the third time with 56 at Baylor, Oct. 1. The freshman from Texas set the previous marks against East Carolina (52) and Morehead State (54). She broke on to the scene against Tennessee-Chattanooga when coach Mahi pulled senior Kelly McCarter and put in Jackson who tallied 40 (13.3) assists in three games of action.
Sophomore Jennifer Adams, sidelined six matches with an ankle injury, replaced ailing Keri Coats against No. 21 Texas A&M. She turned in eight kills and hit .500 in three games of action.
Joanna Schmitt has gone to the well for double-doubles on 12 occasions this season. Schmitt’s total ranks as the seventh best mark in the Big 12 and the top number among Big 12 rookies. Below is a list of the top individuals in the conference
1. Tisha Schwartz, Baylor
|Nicole Carr, Colorado||14|
|3. Brittany Dalager, Iowa State||13|
|Sarah Rome, Kansas||13|
|Shen Danru, Mizzou||13|
|Jennifer Saleaumua, Nebraska||13|
|7. Joanna Schmitt, OU||12|
|Kelly Johnson, Tech||12|
|Melissa Munsch, A&M||12|
|9. Laura Jones, A&M||11|
|10. Mira Topic, Texas||10|
Coats Nears Block Assists Mark
Junior Keri Coats is eight block assists shy (78) of the OU rally scoring single season block assists record held by teammate Jennifer Adams. Adams has 85 block assists this season, despite missing the last six matches due to an ankle injury.
Rookie Of The Year
Outside hitter Joanna Schmitt is a favorite for Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Schmitt leads all freshman in kills per game (4.33) and is second in digs per game (2.69) among rookies eligible for the award. She is ranked No. 4 in the Big 12 in kills per game and is third since the beginning of conference play (4.50 KPG).
Assaulting the Record Book
In 25 career matches Joanna Schmitt has led OU in total attacks 23 times, kills 22 times and digs eight times. She is on pace to break a number of records. With six matches remaining she already owns the OU rally scoring kills record with a current total of 410. She became the first Sooner in the rally scoring era (2001) to record 400 kills in a season and just the 13th player in OU history to top 400 kills in a single season. Schmitt is on pace to record 505 kills this season, which would be the sixth best single-season total in OU volleyball history, regardless of scoring system. The favorite target of OU’s setters is on pace to take 1,393 swings this year, a mark that tie for third in OU history. At her current pace Schmitt will easily top 400 kills and 300 digs. Only six players in OU history have turned in 400 kills and 300 digs in a single season, while only five Sooners have ever recorded a 500-300 season. She has 256 digs, which is seven shy of Logan Pierce’s rally scoring record of 263. Schmitt is 24 kills and 21 attacks shy of cracking the all-time OU single season top-10 for each category.
Maynes Hits 500-500 Mark
OU senior Christina Maynes moved into first place on the OU career rally scoring digs list with 15 digs in a double-double effort at Baylor (10/1). She passed 2002 graduate Denise Griffin who had 461 and stands alone at the top with 575. Maynes took over sole possession on the OU career rally scoring kills list after recording 15 kills during Cougar Challenge play. She now has 586 kills in her career. She is the only Sooner in rally scoring history (since 2001) to reach 500 in either category.
Many Signs Of Improvement
OU is projected to easily top all of its numbers from last season. OU’s averages are up in every category and the improvement has been significant in every area except digs. The biggest improvement has come in kills, where OU averaged 12.68 in 2002 and is up nearly one kill per game at 13.61. OU has already topped its kill total from last season (1176) with 1307 in 2003 and is projected to best last season by 433.