Sept. 4, 2000

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Sooners Travel to Holiday Inn Classic

OU (4-0) will look to continue it's 2000 tournament success at the Holiday Inn Classic in Bozeman, Mont., this weekend. Hosted by Montana State, the tournament covers two days, beginning on Friday, and also includes participants Colgate and Utah State. All games will be played in Shroyer Gym on the Montana State University campus. The Sooners will compete once on the first day of the event against Colgate at 5 p.m. OU then wraps up tournament play on Saturday versus Utah State at 12 p.m. and Montana State at 7:30 p.m.

Cardinal Classic Champs

The squad clinched the Cardinal Classic title last weekend by defeating tournament-host Lamar, 3-2 (5-15, 15-12, 17-15, 12-15, 15-10), Saturday night at the Montagne Center in Beaumont, Texas. Both teams entered the championship match with a 3-0 record after tallying wins over fellow participants Louisiana-Lafayette, 3-0 (15-9, 15-4, 15-10), New Mexico State, 3-1 (6-15, 16-14, 15-6, 15-9), and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 3-0 (15-5, 15-7, 15-2). At one point during the tournament, the Sooners dominated by winning nine-straight games. Senior middle blocker Cathy Cook captured tournament Most Valuable Player honors after registering a combined .444 hitting percentage for the two-day event and leading the Sooners offensively in each match. Senior setter Carolyn Kittell also garnered all-tournament accolades as she was the second Sooner named to the team. Kittell dished out 68 assists in the championship match, her highest total since recording a career-high 77 assists in 1998.

Career-High Performances

Several Sooners turned in career-best performances last weekend during the Cardinal Classic. Senior middle blocker Holly McMillan assisted in a career-high 11 blocks during the New Mexico State match, while senior setter Carolyn Kittell served up a career-best five aces and senior outside hitter Maria Holmgren added a career-high 13 digs against the Aggies. Holmgren posted another career-best effort with 25 kills in the championship match versus Lamar, bettering her previous high by six. Kittell came within nine assists of breaking her career high when she dished out 68 assists against the Cardinals, tying her second highest single-match performance.

Impressive Debuts

The 2000 squad opened the season with several impressive individual outings from it's newcomers. Kalani Mahi began his stint as the head coach of the program with a 4-0 record and a tournament title at the Cardinal Classic. The tournament championship was the first won by the school in the last two years since placing first with a 4-0 record at the 1998 Wake Forest Tournament. Freshman Logan Pierce tallied a double-double in her first collegiate match against New Mexico State. The outside hitter turned in a 12 kill and 10 dig performance in the match. Pierce finished the two-day event with 26 kills (1.86 kpg) and 40 digs (2.86 dpg), including a 20 dig defensive effort in the championship match versus Lamar. Sophomore-transfer Lindsay Hoyt also made a good impression in her first four matches at OU. A reserve setter at Illinois State last season, Hoyt has been making the transition to the outside hitter position since arriving at Oklahoma. Through the first four games, Hoyt is averaging 1.93 kpg for a .259 hitting percentage, including back-to-back matches during the tournament in which she posted attack percentages of .357 and better. Hoyt also made her presence felt at the net by adding 18 total blocks (1.20 bpg), including 17 block assists, good for second best on the team.

Among the League Leaders

After 10 of the 11 volleyball programs in the Big 12 Conference opened competition last weekend, Oklahoma's 4-0 performance allowed many Sooners to appear among the league's individual leaders in several categories. Cathy Cook - Hitting Percentage - Second (.444), Kills - Fifth (4.47 kpg)

Carolyn Kittell - Assists - Fifth (11.87 apg), Service Aces - Second (0.80 sa/g)

Holly McMillan - Blocks - Sixth (1.53 bpg)

Logan Pierce - Service Aces - 10th (0.43 sa/g)

Assessing the Holiday Inn Classic Field

Colgate: Colgate enters the tournament with a 0-3 record to begin the season. The Red Raiders failed to win a game in either of the three losses to Temple, Ohio State or Seton Hall. Colgate's woes extend to a .055 team hitting percentage in which the squad is averaging only 7.67 kpg.

Montana State: Holiday Inn Classic host Montana State returned home from the West Virginia Classic with a 2-1 record. MSU captured wins over West Virginia and Towson State, both by 3-1 match scores. The Bobcats' only loss was to Radford in five games. The team's overall leader is freshman outside hitter Anne Watts who is averaging 3.58 kpg, for a .351 hitting percentage, and four dpg.

Utah State: The Aggies opened the 2000 season by posting a 2-2 record at the Cougar Challenge in Pullman, Wash., last weekend. Utah State picked up their two wins by sweeping Rhode Island and Gonzaga. USU began the tournament by pushing 17th-ranked Kansas State to five games before losing. The Aggies are led offensively and defensively by senior outside hitter Amy Crosbie who averaged 4.13 kpg and 2.87 dpg through the first four matches.

Head Coach Kalani Mahi

Kalani Mahi embarks on his first year at the helm of the Oklahoma volleyball program this season. Prior to arriving in Norman, Mahi, a native of Kaneohe, Hawaii, served as the top assistant coach at Illinois State, where he assisted the Redbirds to two consecutive second-place finishes in the Missouri Valley Conference and an NCAA at-large bid in 1998. Before assisting at Illinois State, Mahi served as the head coach at Bradley University from 1995-1997, guiding the Braves to three consecutive Missouri Valley Conference Championship Tournament appearances, a first in school history. He joined the Braves' coaching staff as an assistant in 1992, and was elevated to the head position in 1995.