Nov. 1, 2000
NORMAN, Okla. - Attempting to accomplish another upset of the No. 1 Nebraska Cornhuskers for the Oklahoma athletic program, the Sooner volleyball team fell short losing a close fought battle, 15-6, 15-8 and 15-12, to the top-ranked volleyball team in the country Wednesday night at the OU Fieldhouse in Norman, Okla. Oklahoma (6-15, 1-12 Big 12) held late leads in games two and three over Nebraska (22-0, 14-0 Big 12) and held the Big 12 Conference's top hitting team to a .287 attack percentage for the match, .050 points below their season average. OU freshman outside hitter Logan Pierce led the Sooners with nine kills, while senior outside hitter Maria Holmgren hustled for a match-high 10 digs and contributed seven kills.
Following the match OU Head Coach Kalani Mahi assessed his team's performance against the No. 1 team in the nation.
"I was pleased with the fight and the confidence the team displayed here tonight -- we competed very well in each game," said Mahi. "We came in early and got after them and had them on their heals the whole match and forced them to make mental errors. We knew if we stayed patient and aggressive, a balanced offense would work against them. I was real proud of the way the girls worked hard, stayed aggressive and stuck to a solid game plan."
Mahi also commented on the outstanding play of the Sooners' outside hitters.
"At the game in Nebraska (earlier in the season), they tried to take our middle attack out of the game and we knew they would try to do that in this match. We knew we would have to get our outside hitters more involved in the offense. Logan had one of her best hitting performances of the year and served the ball well, too."
Oklahoma posted its best hitting percentage of the contest at .282 in game one, but were unable to contain Nebraska's hot hitters who combined for a .404 attack percentage. With neither team holding a lead of more than four throughout the first 11 points and OU down 7-3, sophomore outside hitter Lindsay Hoyt pulled the Sooners to within three by blocking a Husker attack. Through the next two points of the game, the two teams battled back and forth through 21 side outs. The Cornhuskers then finished off the game by going on a 6-2 run to end game one, 15-6.
Pierce broke out in game two and led the Sooner attack by registering five kills in the game. Down 7-3, OU mounted a comeback and scored five unanswered points to claim a 8-7 advantage. Pierce landed four kills over that stretch to rally OU. However, the comeback was cut short and Nebraska countered with a spurt of its own to close out the game on an 8-0 run and win the game, 15-8.
The Sooners allowed the Cornhuskers to jump out to a 4-0 lead in the final game before they rallied again with six-straight points to take a 6-4 advantage. Pierce and senior middle blocker Cathy Cook accounted for two kills a piece during the comeback. The two teams then battled through five ties for the remainder of the game before Nebraska captured the final three points, with the game tied at 12, to end the match and game three at 15-12.
Oklahoma will look to capture its first conference road victory of the season as they travel to Ames, Iowa, to face Iowa State. The match is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. inside Hilton Coliseum. The Sooners picked up their only Big 12 win earlier in the season against the Cyclones in Norman.