Sept. 2, 2000
Beaumont, Texas - The Oklahoma volleyball team clinched the Cardinal Classic title by defeating tournament-host Lamar, 3-2, Saturday night at the Montagne Center in Beaumont, Texas. Senior middle blocker Cathy Cook captured Most Valuable Player honors after registering a combined .444 hitting percentage for the tournament and leading the Sooners offensively in each match. OU's record improved to a perfect 4-0 after sweeping through the tournament field, while Lamar dropped to 3-1.
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.
Head Coach Kalani Mahi credited the performance of the entire team.
"It was, from start to finish, a total team effort," said Mahi. "We had some great contributions from a lot of different players during the tournament. I am just real excited about the overall performance of this team and felt we improved throughout the tournament.
"I am very excited about my first tournament win with this team and for the University of Oklahoma," expressed an exuberant Mahi.
Coming into the match, both squads posted a 3-0 record to create the championship match. After the Cardinals jumped out to a 1-0 match lead following game one, the Sooners battled back to win games two and three by scores of 15-12 and 17-15. Lamar won game four to force a deciding game five which Oklahoma won by holding its opponent to a -.174 hitting percentage in the final game. Cook landed 23 kills, while senior outside hitter Maria Holmgren and senior middle blocker Holly McMillan posted double-doubles. Holmgren landed a match and career-best 25 kills and added 10 digs, while McMillan scored 13 kills to go along with her 11 digs on the defensive end. The double-double was McMillan's second of the tournament.
Oklahoma began the day by sweeping Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 3-0, in its first match of the day. The squad out-blocked the Islanders, 8-1, and held them to a .093 hitting percentage as a team. Cook once again sparked the Sooner offense as the senior posted a .500 attack percentage (12k-2e-20ta) for the match. Holmgren equalled Cook's fabulous hitting percentage landing seven of 14 attempts without an error.
OU competes against Colgate, Montana State and Utah State in the Holiday Inn Classic next weekend at Montana State in Bozeman Mont.