Sept. 11, 2000

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Oklahoma Takes On LadyBacks, Opens Conference Play
The Sooners (5-2) travel to Fayetteville, Ark., on Tuesday to face the Lady Razorbacks of Arkansas. The contest is set to begin at 7 p.m. at Barnhill Arena on the university's campus. OU then begins Big 12 Conference play on Saturday at Colorado. The Sooners and the Buffaloes square off at 7 p.m. in the Coors Events/Conference Center in Boulder, Colo. The match will be the first contest between Oklahoma Head Coach Kalani Mahi and Colorado Head Coach Pi'i Aiu, former high school teammates in Kaneohe, Hawaii.

Last Time Out
Oklahoma emerged from the Montana State Holiday Inn Classic last weekend with a 1-2 record during the tournament. OU swept Colgate, before being swept by Utah State and tournament champ Montana State. 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 tournament was held at Shroyer Gym on the Montana State campus in Bozeman, Mont.

The Sooners opened the tournament with a convincing 3-0 (15-4, 15-4, 15-8) win against Colgate on Friday night to give the volleyball team their first 5-0 start in the program's 27-year history. The win also marked the third time this year Oklahoma had swept an opponent in three games. Cook paced the Sooners offensively hitting .542 for the match, landing 16 of 24 attempts, while the team registered a season-best .397 attack percentage.

Oklahoma produced a balanced scoring attack against Colgate as several Sooners turned in outstanding offensive efforts. Five players posted hitting percentages of .444 or better during the match. Senior setter Carolyn Kittell recorded a season-high .667 (4k-0e-6ta) hitting percentage, while senior middle blocker Holly McMillan landed five kills in eight attempts for a .500 attack percentage. Outside hitters Maria Holmgren and Lindsay Hoyt contributed offensively as well as they hit .462 and .444, respectively.

Oklahoma fell in three games, 15-9, 15-6 and 15-9, to host and tournament champions Montana State Saturday night. 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 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.

Oklahoma suffered its first loss of the season to Utah State, 3-0 (15-5, 15-7, 15-3) Saturday afternoon. 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.

Scouting Arkansas
The Lady Razorbacks (1-4) began the season with two three game losses to nationally-ranked Penn State and Southern California. Arkansas finally notched its first win against Pittsburgh in its first match of the University of Pittsburgh Volleyball Classic last weekend. Pittsburgh won the first two games before Arkansas mounted an impressive comeback to win, 8-15, 16-18, 15-10, 15-5 and 15-7.

Arkansas concluded tournament play with two more losses to Indiana (3-0) and Miami (Ohio) (3-2) on Saturday. Leading the way for the Lady Razorbacks is sophomore middle blocker Libby Windell who leads the team in hitting percentage (.325) and blocks per game (1.11).

Scouting Colorado
The Buffaloes (2-3) split a pair of games last weekend at the Sugar Bowl Tournament in New Orleans, La. Colorado fell 3-0 (15-11, 15-3, 15-7) to No. 15 Wisconsin, before picking up a 3-2 (15-6, 14-16, 6-15, 15-8, 15-13) victory against host-school New Orleans.

CU's team leader is sophomore outside hitter Kim Taskey who is averaging a team-high 3.94 kills per game and 2.22 digs per game. As a team, Colorado posts a .176 hitting percentage, while its opponents are averaging .224.

The Series
Oklahoma and Arkansas will square off for the first time in school history on Tuesday night, while Colorado owns a commanding 23-9 series lead over OU. CU has won the last six meetings between the two schools, including an 18-5 game margin. The last time the Sooners pulled off a win against the Buffaloes was on November 2, 1996, when OU defeated CU, 3-2, in Norman. The last time OU won in Boulder was in 1988 when the Sooners took a 3-2 victory from the Buffaloes.

Stiff Competition
Beginning next week with No. 18 Texas A&M and continuing for the next month, Oklahoma is scheduled to face five current top 25 teams, including three of their next five opponents. The Sooners will face the Aggies next Wednesday at home, followed by a road match against No. 4 Nebraska on Saturday, Sept. 23, and No. 19 Baylor on Saturday, Sept. 30, in Waco, Texas.

Beginning in October, OU will host No. 20 Kansas State at the OU Field House on Saturday, Oct. 7, and then travel to Austin, Texas, to battle with Red River rival Texas in its next match on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

Head Coach Kalani Mahi
Kalani Mahi embarks on his first year at the helm of the Oklahoma volleyball program this season. Already this season, Mahi has led the Sooners to a tournament title at the Lamar Cardinal Classic and OU's first 5-0 start in the program's 27-year history.

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.