Oct. 14, 2000

NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma volleyball team lost a close fought battle, 15-11, 15-8 and 15-12, to 24th-ranked Missouri Saturday night at the OU Field House. The Tigers (16-2, 7-2 Big 12) largest lead of the match was only seven as the Sooners (6-11, 1-8 Big 12) hung tight with the Big 12 Conference's second place team. Seniors Cathy Cook and Maria Holmgren paced OU offensively landing 14 and 13 kills, respectively.

"I was very happy with the way we competed tonight," expressed OU Head Coach Kalani Mahi following the match. "We were in a position to beat the 24th-ranked team in the country and I see this as a major break-through for us. We just need to get into a position where we can get over that hump (of hanging close with tough teams) and get into a position where we can win the match."

The Sooners posed threats to the Tigers from the beginning of the match. After sophomore Elizabeth Newman served three-consecutive points for Oklahoma to tie game one at three all, OU took a brief lead at 4-3 when Missouri middle blocker Ashlee Johns was charged with an attack error. The Sooners forced two more ties in the game, at 4-4 and 8-8, before the Tigers pulled away with four-straight points late in the game. Missouri did not hold a lead of more than four in game one as they went on to win 15-11. Cook and freshman outside hitter Logan Pierce led the Sooners in the game with four kills a piece as OU hit for a team match-best .382 attack percentage.

OU once again caused problems for Missouri in game two as the teams battled through four more ties. Cook again led the team in kills for the game landing six in nine attempts without an error. Two-straight kills by Cook tied the game at seven before the Tigers went on another late 4-0 spurt to put the game away.

Down 7-4 in the final game, Oklahoma climbed back into the game on a kill by Holmgren and two block assists by senior Holly McMillan and sophomore Lindsay Hoyt. From the 7-7 tie, both teams fought back and forth through four more ties. With the Tigers clinging to a 14-11 advantage, the Sooners fought off four match points by Missouri before the Tigers finally closed out the match at 15-12.

Defensively for the Sooners, Newman led the club with a match-high 12 digs and McMillan assisted in a match-high four blocks. Seven of nine Oklahoma players notched kills in the match.

Oklahoma will look to capitalize on their improved play against the Kansas Jayhawks in its next match. The contest is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. in the Horejsi Family Athletics Center in Lawrence, Kan.