NORMAN, Okla. The Oklahoma volleyball team used a dominate defensive effort to overcome a 2-1 deficit against East Carolina and win its sixth consecutive match Friday evening in the Liberty University Invitational. The Sooners current winning streak is the longest since 1996, when OU won nine straight, and boosts OU's record to 6-3 on the season. After dropping the first and third games, OU changed strategies and controlled the final two sessions for the 28-30, 33-31, 20-30, 30-15, 15-8 victory.
"It was a battle tonight," said OU head coach Kalani Mahi. "East Carolina may have been the best defensive team we've faced all year. They were digging in systems until we switched up our rotation in game four and took them out of their rhythm."
Freshman Joanna Schmitt led four OU players with double-digit kills. Schmitt pounded out 18 kills, while Sheena Werling tallied 13, Jennifer Adams added 10 and Keri Coats recorded 11.
"Keri Coats led us back in game four," said Mahi. "Her serving was excellent and she had at least six (of her 11) kills in the final game and a half."
Coats hit .190 (11K-4E-21TA) and aced three serves. Adams and Tomes were up to their usual business at the net with eight and seven block assists, respectively. Freshman setter Rachel Jackson set an OU rally scoring five game record with 52 assists. The rookie who ran the OU offense all night also contributed a career-high six block assists.
The Sooners tied the OU rally scoring record, which they set against Lipscomb last weekend, with 30 block assists and set a new mark with 16 total blocks in the match.
OU hit .256 on the night, while East Carolina hit just .157. OU has hit above .200 in five of the last six contests after not reaching the mark in the first three matches of the season.
The Sooners return to Liberty Invitational action tomorrow at 1 p.m., when they face 2002 NCAA Tournament invitee Morehead State. OU finishes its 2003 tourney schedule at 5 p.m. against the host Liberty Flames.