The Weekly Slate
Wednesday, Oct. 29
Howard McCasland Field House 7p.m.
OU Season StatsBaylor Season Stats
Saturday, Nov. 1
Nebraska Coliseum, Lincoln, Neb. 7 p.m.
After its second bye weekend of the Big 12 season the Oklahoma volleyball looks to come out reenergized as it begins the second half of the conference schedule on Wednesday. First serve for the match with Baylor is set for 7 p.m. at the McCasland Field House.
Admission to the match is $5 for adults and $2 for children. The match is part of the Website Wednesday’ promotion, which features $3 admission coupons that can be downloaded from SoonerSports.com. The first 300 fans in attendance will receive free OU volleyball trading cards. The volleyball team will hold an autograph session following the match.
OU picked up its only Big 12 win of the season last time they faced Baylor. After falling behind 2-1 in Waco, the Sooners battled back and took the match in five games. OU was led by left siders Joanna Schmitt and Christina Maynes, who each turned in double-doubles in the first meeting. Schmitt tallied 26 kills and 13 digs, while Maynes collected 19 kills and 15 digs. Junior Keri Coats had 15 kills on the right side.
The Sooners who beat Baylor on Oct. 1 were a very different team than the one that will hit the court Wednesday. OU no longer has the services of Laura Tomes (seven kills, eight block assists in first meeting) and Jennifer Adams (four kills, four block assists).
Baylor enters the rematch 11-13 overall and 3-8 in conference action. Baylor has defeated Iowa State, Texas Tech and Kansas State. Baylor upset K-State at home to give the first place team its only loss of the conference season.
Baylor could not repeat its upset of K-State, who it was defeated by Saturday. The loss at the hands of the Wildcats pushed BU’s losing streak to three matches and seven of the last nine in league.
The Bears are led by senior Tisha Schwartz, who is tied with Schmitt for fourth in the Big 12 with 4.31 kills per game. Schwartz is second on the Baylor squad with 2.77 digs per game behind libero Stevie Nicolas (3.25).
As For The Sooners
After battling Texas A&M for three games on Oct. 17, the Sooners struggled against Texas Tech. The story was the same for the Sooners who were doomed by an errant offense that was the by product of inconsistent passing.
It appears that the reshuffled Sooner lineup is finding some continuity on the court. The results showed against A&M. Keri Coats, who has moved to middle blocker had six kills and just one error in her second match at the position. Senior co-captain Kelly McCarter was stellar in her return to the lineup with four kills on six swings and 17 assists. McCarter and Coats, were two of three Sooners (Christina Maynes was the third) that hit above .200 against A&M. OU hit above .200 for the third time in conference and the 11th time this season.
Against Tech Coats struggled offensively but had one her best defensive matches as a Sooner. Coats posted seven block assists, tying a career-high, which is more impressive considering all of the blocks came in the final two games.
Joanna Schmitt had 14 kills, which was offset by a 12 attack errors. Schmitt started strong (seven kills, two errors in game one) but tallied 10 errors in the final two games.
One match after Coach Mahi acknowledged her effort against A&M as “the best of her career”, senior co-captain Yvette Villanueva collected a match-high 10 digs at Texas Tech.
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 has shifted Coats and sophomore Jennifer Mosso into the middle.
Coats, who hasn’t played middle since high school, was exceptional in her first two matches in the middle. Coats is averaging 2.3 kills per game while hitting .325 and collecting 1.3 blocks per game since the change (three matches). All of Coats’ stats since the change are near or better than Laura Tomes’ season averages.
Sophomore Sheena Werling has hit the ground running since replacing Coats at right side hitter. Werling is averaging 2.9 kills per game and hitting .283 since the move. The three match hot streak has upped her season percentage from .173 to .184.
Coach Mahi has moved senior Christina Maynes back to outside hitter, after playing 11 matches at defensive specialist. In seven contests since returning to the outside, Maynes has averaged 9.9 kills per match.
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 this season.
- With 10 matches remaining the Sooners have 196.5 total blocks, which already tops the 180 posted by the Sooners in 2002. At their current pace, OU would record 285 total blocks this season.
- OU has won three consecutive matches against Baylor for the first time since 1996-97, when they swept both season series. The Sooners lead the all-time series 18-11.
- OU had won three consecutive matches against Iowa State before losing on Oct. 8. OU still leads the all-time series 38-13, which includes victories in 17 of the last 21 meetings.
- OU’s three match win streak against Baylor is its longest current streak against any Big 12 opponent.
- OU hit above. 200 eight times last season. The Sooners have hit above .200, 11 times this season and in 11 of the last 19 contests, including against Kansas (.205) and No. 22 Texas A&M (.214). OU has hit above .200 three times since the beginning of conference play.
- OU is 7-4 when it hits above .200 and 1-2 when they reach the mark in conference this season.
The biggest surprise of the season for OU is the emergence of walk-on freshman Rachel Jackson. She leads OU with 8.54 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.
Adams Nearing Return
Sophomore Jennifer Adams, sidelined since Oct. 11, is making significant strides in her rehab from a sprained ankle. Adams could return to OU lineup in the next two weeks.
Rookie Of The Year
The Big 12 schedule is just eight matches old but the season is past the half way point and freshman outside hitter Joanna Schmitt is a favorite for Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Schmitt leads all freshman in kills per game (4.29) and digs per game (2.61). She is ranked No. 4 in the Big 12 in kills per game and is second since the beginning of conference play
Assaulting the Record Book
Joanna Schmitt leads OU offensively with 4.31 KPG and is the team’s best passer at 2.63 DPG. In 22 career matches she has led OU in total attacks 21 times, kills 19 times and digs seven times. She is on pace to break a number of records. She is just seven kills away from breaking the OU rally scoring kills record of 342 held by Logan Pierce (2001). Schmitt is on pace to record 489 kills this season, a mark that would be the eighth best single-season total in OU volleyball history, regardless of scoring system. The favorite target of OU’s setters is on pace to take 1,347 swings this year, a mark that would rank fifth in OU history. At her current pace Schmitt will easily top 400 kills and will approach 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. Her projected digs total of 298 is another OU rally scoring record and would place her just outside the top 10 on OU’s all-time list. Schmitt only needed 19 matches to pass 2002 kills leader Megan O’Connell (289) and is already fourth on the OU rally scoring career kills list.
Tomes Out With Knee Injury
In what is a crushing blow to OU’s frontline, freshman middle hitter Laura Tomes is out for the season with a torn ACL in her right knee. Tomes, who was a Fab 50 prepster, led OU with a .291 hitting percentage and is third on the squad with a kills per game average of 2.39. She also ranked No. 6 in the Big 12 with 1.15 blocks per game before sustaining the injury. Tomes tore the ACL in her right knee in high school.
Despite a frontline that currently is devoid of Tomes and Adams, who started every game at the position until Oct. 8, the Sooners continue to be one of the best in the Big 12 in blocking. OU averages 2.49 blocks per game (fifth in the Big 12) and has five individuals averaging 0.67 blocks per game or better. OU has recorded 15 or more total blocks on four occasions this season, that mark was never reached in 2002. Sophomore Jennifer Adams (1.22) is third in the Big 12 in blocks per game, while freshman Laura Tomes is fifth (1.15). Keri Coats and Kelly McCarter average 0.80 and 0.84 blocks per game, respectively.
Adams Breaks Assists Mark
Jennifer Adams broke the single season rally scoring block assists record of 78 held by Candice Woods. Adams recorded three block assists before going down with an ankle injury against Kansas on Oct. 11. She has 81 block assists on the season. Adams has 134 career block assists (81 this season) and is 12 away from the career record of Candice Woods (146).
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 13.53. At their current pace, the Sooners would record 397 more kills this year than last year (1555 to 1167).
IN The O Zone
Sooner fans can catch nine of the ten home matches this season on SoonerSports.com’s O Zone. Fans can also see live video when the Sooners travel to Kansas State and Nebraska this season.
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 516. Maynes took over sole possession on the OU career rally scoring kills list after recording 15 kills during Cougar Challenge play. She nows has 521 kills in her career. She is the only Sooner in rally scoring history (since 2001) to reach 500 either category.