NORMAN, Okla. When Oklahoma and Baylor get together on the volleyball court it usually takes five games to decide and in recent history that has played into the Sooners favor. For the second time this season, OU and Baylor went the distance with the Sooners coming out on top (30-26, 20-30, 33-31, 26-30, 13-15) in the five game thriller for their fourth consecutive victory over the Bears.
"I honestly thought we played our best volleyball of the season," said OU Head Coach Kalani Mahi. "We were able to finish them off at the end of three games. I was very proud of our fight and our ability to compete against a talented team. We fought very hard on defense in particular. We were balanced and received great contributions from players all over the court."
Oklahoma was led by sophomore Sheena Werling and senior Christina Maynes. Werling hammered 19 kills, one away from a career-best, while leading the offensive charge with a .405 hitting percentage. Maynes recorded her second double-double against Baylor this season with 18 kills and a match-high 16 digs. Maynes was one of three Sooners to hit above .300 as she turned in a .343 percentage. Junior-transfer Keri Coats continued her smooth transition at middle blocker by hitting .350 with nine kills and four block assists.
"Sheena and Christina were patient and took good high, hard swings," said Mahi. "They countered their patience with smart aggressive plays at the correct times."
In the first game freshman Joanna Schmitt led the offense with five kills out of the Sooners first 10 points. OU was behind until 15-15, when they turned the tide and eventually sealed the match 30-26. Schmitt tallied six kills in the first frame and finished with her 10th double-double of the season. Schmitt had 24 kills, two away from a personal-high and an OU record, as well as 13 digs.
At 11-1 in the second game, Schmitt picked up her first attack error of the match. Schmitt skidded with five consecutive errors on her next five opportunities. Following a timeout by Mahi at 18-11, Schmitt rebounded with a kill to end the short slump. Unfortunately, OU couldn’t overcome the Bear advantage and lost the second game 30-20.
Baylor looked like it would take a 2-1 advantage in the third game. The Bears led 29-26 only to lose the match 33-31 behind some stellar serving from Werling. Werling and Schmitt teamed up to record five and six kills in the third game, respectively.
Werling carried the momentum into the fourth game as she worked with sophomore Jennifer Mosso to block two of Baylor’s first three possessions. OU jumped out 3-0 but couldn’t finish the Bears who won 30-26, despite six game four kills from Werling.
In the deciding fifth game Maynes, Schmitt and Werling teamed slam the door on Baylor. Maynes ended the match at 15-11 with her fourth kill of the final game. Schmitt had three kills in the final game, while Werling totaled two big put-aways.
Mosso contributed five kills and six block assists, which led OU. Werling excelled on both ends of the court, recording a career-best five block assists and eight digs. Senior co-captain Yvette Villanueva had nine digs, while freshman setter Rachel Jackson turned in eight digs.
Jackson teamed with senior co-captain Kelly McCarter at setter. The team finished the match with 69 assists, an OU rally scoring record, breaking the previous mark of 61. Jackson bested McCarter with 44 assists to the veteran’s 19. Jackson also had a career-high three aces.
Junior Stephanie Tengram’s had three aces and was a major factor according to Mahi.
"Tengram lit a fire under the team in the first game when she came in to serve," said Mahi. "We took that momentum and ran with it the rest of the game."
OU improves to 10-13 on the season and 2-9 in the Big 12, while Baylor falls to 11-14 and 3-9 in conference action. Up next for OU is a trip to Nebraska for a Saturday evening match at 7 p.m. Fans can access live video of the match through the O-Zone portion of soonersports.com.