Volleyball Beats Liberty, Places Two On All-Tourney Team

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
SEPTEMBER 13, 2003

The Oklahoma volleyball team rebounded from a marathon loss earlier in the day to beat Liberty University 3-1 Saturday evening in the Liberty University Invitational in Lynchburg, Va. OU finished in the three way tie with Liberty and Morehead State for first place in the tournament, a week after winning the Chattanooga Invitational, and improve their record to 7-4 on the season. Freshman Laura Tomes and junior-transfer Keri Coats were named to the all-invitational team.

"We came in really fired up tonight," commented OU head coach Kalani Mahi, "which really helped because we were pretty worn out physically. It was a matter of staying aggressive and playing with emotion tonight. We controlled the three games we won and we're in the drivers seat all night."

OU controlled the first two games and won 30-24, 30-25, before dropping the third set 23-30. The Sooners came roaring back to seal match and win the final game 30-26. 

Statistically, the match was the best outing of the year for the Sooners.  They recorded a season-high 73 kills in four games after totaling 66 and 63 in five game matches earlier in the tournament.  The 73 kills is an OU team rally scoring four game record, breaking the old mark (70) set against Baylor last season. OU also recorded its second highest digs per game (15.25), second highest hitting percentage (.289) and second lowest service error totals (7) of the season. The hitting percentage (.289) is also an OU rally scoring four game record.

Laura Tomes collected a career-high 17 kills and posted the sixth best single game hitting percentage, .538 (17-3-26), of any Sooner under the current rally scoring system.  She now owns three of the top six single game hitting percentage performances.  Tomes earned all-tourney honors thanks to weekend averages of 2.76 kills per game, .404 hitting percentage and 1.41 blocks per game. The rookies hitting percentage entering the weekend was .262 and now stands at .316.  Tomes also received all-tourney honors at the Chattanooga Invitational last weekend.

"Laura has filled the role and then some for us," praised Mahi. "She has been excellent controlling play at the net all season. She forced every team in this tournament to leave their offensive system and play a more passive game."

Fellow all-tourney member Keri Coats averaged 1.95 kills per game, while hitting .248 with 16 aces and a .083 blocks per game average.

"Keri's consistency stood out," said Mahi. "She changed the momentum in all of our matches by shutting down her assigned player offensively. Keri was devastating on offense this weekend when we could get her the ball."

Other standout performances for the Sooners in the final match of the tournament were turned in by Joanna Schmitt, Sheena Werling, Rachel Jackson, Kelly McCarter and Christina Maynes.  Schmitt contributed her second consecutive double-double (21 kills and 11 digs), which gives her a team-high four on the season.  Schmitt's 21 kills is a team-high this season.  Werling had 15 kills against Liberty and had a weekend average of 3.24 kills per game.  Jackson and McCarter shared the setting duties in a modified 5-1 system and collected 34 and 21 assists, respectively.  Jackson recorded her second consecutive double-double (34 assists and 11 digs) and now has three on the season.  Maynes continued to impress at defensive specialist with 11 digs and a team-high tourney average of 2.59 digs per game.

OU's current 7-4 record is the best 11 match total of the Mahi era. The Sooners have already surpassed their win total from last season (6) and are currently tied for the highest season win total since Mahi took over in 2000.

Despite the equal 3-1 records, Morehead State was named champion of the invitional based on point differential.

The Sooners face Oral Roberts on Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m., inside the Cooper Aerobics Center in Tulsa, Okla. OU opens the Big 12 season against Missouri Saturday, Sept. 20 in Columbia, Mo.




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