NORMAN, Okla. - Santiago Restrepo came to Oklahoma with a specific plan to revitalize the volleyball program. The path to Restrepo’s first-year goals is now in place as the athletics department officially announced the 2004 schedule on Tuesday afternoon.
“The non-conference schedule is something that we can build upon,” said Restrepo. “We have a chance to win a couple tournaments if we play to our potential, but our first objective will be preparing for the Big 12 season.”
The slate features seven teams that reached the NCAA Tournament in 2003, six of which are Big 12 foes. Restrepo, who left Southern Miss in January to take the helm at OU, will see familiar faces in Conference USA teams TCU and Memphis.
The season begins at the Holiday Inn University of Texas Pan-American Invitational in Edinburg, Texas. OU is one of five teams in the round-robin tourney. OU will open the 2004 campaign with a doubleheader against Providence and Louisiana-Monroe on Friday, Sept. 3. The Sooners will square off with Grambling State and UTPA the next day to close out the four-game tournament.
OU will look to make it two consecutive seasons with wins over Oral Roberts when the regional foes open the Howard McCasland Field House on Tuesday, Sept. 7.
After the home opener, OU leaves for Provo, Utah and the BYU Mizuno Classic which begins Friday, Sept. 10. First serve for OU is against Memphis, who went 30-6 in 2003 but didn’t get an NCAA postseason invitation. Last year Restrepo's Southern Miss squad defeated the Tigers in five sets. OU will close out its non-conference slate with a Saturday twin bill against Utah Valley State and BYU. BYU, the only non-conference opponent that played in the 2003 postseason, reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to highly-ranked Hawaii.
“Our goal is to be in the top half of the Big 12,” said Restrepo. “I took this job with that goal for the first two seasons. Then we will build upon those goals.”
OU opens the Big 12 season with a road trip to Texas Tech on Wednesday, Sept. 15. The Big 12 home opener is against Iowa State on Friday, Sept. 17. The game was moved up a day to accommodate OU fans who want to attend the OU home football game against Oregon on Saturday, Sept. 18.
“I am looking forward to the Big 12 season,” said Restrepo. “I want to see where we stack up against the conference. I am interested to see how other teams in conference have changed and improved.”
Home rivalry games against Texas and Nebraska are scheduled for October 27 and November 20, respectively. Senior Day for 2004 graduates Keri Coats and Stephanie Tengram is set for Nov. 27 against Baylor.
A new addition to the Sooner’s schedule, which is different from past season’s, is a non-conference meeting with Texas Christian University in the middle of the conference race. Restrepo filled the Sooner’s conference bye with a home tilt against TCU on November 3.