Sept. 9, 2000
Bozeman, Mont. - Oklahoma fell in three games, 15-9, 15-6 and 15-9, to Holiday Inn Classic champ Montana State Saturday night at Shroyer Gym in Bozeman, Mont. Senior middle blocker Cathy Cook was named to her second all-tournament team of the season as she compiled 41 kills in 71 attempts to post a .479 hitting percentage for the two-day event. The loss dropped the Sooners' record to 5-2, while the Bobcats improved to 6-1.
The Sooners' defense was unable to stop the Bobcats' balanced attack as five MSU players hit for an average of .400 or better. As a team, Oklahoma registered respectable .323 and .324 hitting percentages in the first and third games, respectively, but struggled to a -.030 average in the second game.
OU's middle blockers provided the offensive output against MSU. Cook and senior Holly McMillan accounted for nearly 70 percent of the team's kills in the match. Cook finished with a match-high .607 attack percentage (18k-1e-28ta), while McMillan landed 11 kills in 21 attempts for a .333 percent.
"I thought our middle attack was our strength throughout the tournament and was better than any of the other teams," complimented Head Coach Kalani Mahi. "Cathy Cook was unstoppable tonight and it forced the other teams to alter their game plans."
Earlier in the day, Oklahoma suffered its first loss of the season to Utah State, 3-0 (15-5, 15-7, 15-3). OU struggled offensively as they produced a season-low .041 hitting percentage and landed a season-low 31 kills on 100 attempts. The team also committed 27 errors.
"They (Utah State) were a real good team and are very fast and quick in the transition game," said Mahi. "We tried to play catch up the entire match and when you do that against a good team like them, you're going to come up short."
Cook led the squad with a season-low seven kills, marking her first non-double digit kill performance of the year. Also landing seven kills for OU was sophomore Lindsay Hoyt. Hoyt produced a team-high .250 hitting efficiency with seven kills on 16 attempts and only had three errors. Senior setter Carolyn Kittell had team highs of 27 assists and six digs, while McMillan and Cook had two blocks each. Freshman Christina Barlow matched Kittlell with six digs.
Despite the two-consecutive losses, Mahi was pleased with the way his team improved throughout the day.
"The difference in our play in the two games was our side of the net and our mental game," said Mahi. "I was a little more encouraged with our effort and team confidence in the second match."
The team looks to rebound against Arkansas at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in Fayetteville, Ark.