The Weekly Slate
Wednesday, Nov. 12
Horejsi Family Athletics Center L, 3-0
Saturday, Nov. 15
Howard McCasland Field House 5 p.m.
The Oklahoma volleyball team battles Missouri at the Howard McCasland Field House this Saturday at 5 p.m. As part of Sooner Fan Appreciation Day, no admission will be charged at the door. OU, which has dropped two straight, lost at Missouri in three games in its Big 12 season opener (Sept. 20) but the Tigers comes into the match in the midst of a season-worst five match losing streak.
Missouri had won four straight and was ranked as high as No. 23 before its current five match skid. Missouri knocked off Nebraska at home on Oct. 15, giving the Huskers their second consecutive Big 12 loss for the first time in conference history. Since that point Mizzou has gone 3-5.
During its current slump Missouri has fallen prey to Texas, No. 18 Texas A&M, Kansas, No. 10 Nebraska and No. 5 Kansas State. The losses against the Kansas schools were the most crushing for the Tigers. Missouri had an eight point lead against Missouri in the fifth game before succoumbing to the Jayhawks. The Tigers couldn’t finish No. 5 Kansas State on Wednesday, after having a 2-0 advantage against the Wildcats at home in the Hearnes Center.
The match between OU and Missouri features a showdown between the two favorites for Big 12 Freshman of the Year. OU’s Joanna Schmitt leads all freshman in kills (4.30) and is second in digs (2.70). Missouri rookie right side hitter Jessica Vander Kooi leads all Big 12 freshmen in digs (2.79) and ranks fourth in kills per game (2.32). Below are the two rookies rankings among conference freshmen in the major statistical categories:
|Big 12 Rank||Schmitt||Vander Kooi|
|Kills Per Game||1||4|
|Aces Per Game||3||6|
|Blocks Per Game*||9||1|
|Digs Per Game||2||1|
|*Rank of outside hitters only|
As for the Sooners
OU snapped a couple of lengthy streaks last week in Big 12 play. The Sooners snapped an 11 match losing streak against Texas Tech with a five game victory on Oct. 5. OU also won a single game against a ranked conference opponent (No. 21 Texas A&M) for the first time since 1999,
The Sooners pushed A&M to the wire before losing the match at 34-32 in the fourth game. What makes the feat even more remarkable was that OU was without starting middle blocker Keri Coats for three games and starting right side hitter Sheena Werling for an extended period of time. Coats has been bothered by an ankle injury and tried to go but was pulled early in the second game. Werling rolled her ankle in the second game but was able to return early in the fourth session.
The momentous week for Sooner volleyball was led by senior Christina Maynes who averaged 4.56 kills per game and 3.22 digs per game over the two contests. Maynes set career-highs with 22 kills and 19 digs against Tech. She has recorded a double-double in the last two matches and three of the last four.
Freshman Joanna Schmitt turned in double-doubles in both matches last week and now has 12 on the season. She tied a career-high with 18 digs against No. 21 Texas A&M. She also became the first Sooner in rally scoring history to record 400 kills in a single season.
Filling In, Stepping Up
The injuries keep piling up for OU. The latest to head to the disabled list are Keri Coats and Jennifer Mosso. Coats was sidelined for the majority of the Texas A&M match and the entire loss at Kansas. Mosso, who went down with a severely sprain ankle in practice Tuesday (Nov. 11), missed the Kansas match and is out indefinetely.
The one bright spot health wise for the Sooners is Jennifer Adams, who has returned from an ankle injury. When Coats was pulled at No. 21 Texas A&M, Adams returned to the lineup in impressive fashion. After missing six consecutive matches, Adams had eight kills and hit .500 in three games of action in College Station. Against Kansas the sophomore had four kills on 12 swings.
Coats, who hasn’t played middle since high school, was exceptional after switching positions. Excluding the Nebraska match, when Coats struggled, she averaged 1.95 kills per game while hitting .293 and collecting 1.10 blocks per game.
After playing 11 matches at defensive specialist OU head coach Kalani Mahi moved Maynes back to outside hitter. Since returning to the left side she has averaged 3.33 kills per game while hitting .185 and tallying a team-best 2.84 digs per game.
Schmitt Breaks Another Record
After breaking the rally scoring single season kills record on Oct. 29, Joanna Schmitt added a second record to her expanding resume. She broke the rally scoring single season digs record of Logan Pierce (263 in 2001) with 10 digs on Wednesday night against Kansas. Schmitt currnetly has 266 digs and 421 kills this season. With five matches remaining she is one pace to approach a 500 kill-300 dig season. Only five Sooners have accomplished the feat. Schmitt has taken 1,158 swings this season, which is the 10th best mark in OU history. She is 13 kills shy of cracking the OU all-time single season top-10.
- OU had not taken a single game from ranked conference opponent since 1999 (Kansas State) before pushing No. 21 Texas A&M four games on Saturday (11/8). OU took a game from No. 19 Washington State in the Cougar Classic, which was the first time they accomplished the feat against a non-conference opponent since 1998.
- With 5 matches remaining the Sooners have 227 total blocks, which already tops the 180 posted by the Sooners in 2002. At their current pace, OU will record 269 total blocks this season.
- OU hit above. 200 eight times last season. The Sooners have hit above .200, 12 times this season and in 12 of the last 22 contests, including both matches with Baylor. OU has hit above .200 four times since the beginning of conference play. OU is 8-4 when it hits above .200 and 2-2 when they reach the mark in conference this season.
- OU is one win shy of equaling its conference win total (4) from 2002 and doubling its season win total (6) from last season.
Sophomore Jennifer Adams, sidelined six matches with an ankle injury, replaced ailing Keri Coats against No. 21 Texas A&M. She turned in eight kills and hit .500 in three games of action.
Joanna Schmitt has gone to the well for double-doubles on 13 occasions this season. Schmitt’s total ranks as the sixth best mark in the Big 12 and the top number among Big 12 rookies. Below is a list of the top individuals in the conference:
|1. Tisha Schwartz, Baylor||15|
|2. Nicole Carr, Colorado||14|
|Sarah Rome, Kansas||14|
|Shen Danru, Mizzou||14|
|Jennifer Saleaumua, Nebraska||14|
|6. Joanna Schmitt, OU||13|
|Brittany Dalager, Iowa State||13|
|Kelly Johnson, Tech||13|
|Melissa Munsch, A&M||13|
|10. Laura Jones, A&M||12|
|11. Mira Topic, Texas||11|
Coats Nears Block Assists Mark
Junior Keri Coats is eight block assists shy (78) of the OU rally scoring single season block assists record held by teammate Jennifer Adams. Adams has 85 block assists this season, despite missing the last six matches due to an ankle injury.
Rookie Of The Year
Outside hitter Joanna Schmitt is a favorite for Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Schmitt leads all freshman in kills per game (4.30) and is second in digs per game (2.71) among rookies eligible for the award. She is ranked No. 4 in the Big 12 in kills per game and is third since the beginning of conference play (4.45 KPG).
Assaulting the Record Book
In 27 career matches Joanna Schmitt has led OU in total attacks 23 times, kills 23 times and digs nine times. She is on pace to break a number of records. With five matches remaining she already owns the OU rally scoring kills record with a current total of 421. She became the first Sooner in the rally scoring era (2001) to record 400 kills in a season and just the 13th player in OU history to top 400 kills in a single season. Schmitt is on pace to record 500 kills this season, which would be the sixth best single-season total in OU volleyball history, regardless of scoring system. The favorite target of OU’s setters is on pace to take 1,372 swings this year, a mark that would tie for third in OU history. At her current pace Schmitt will easily top 400 kills and 300 digs. Only six players in OU history have turned in 400 kills and 300 digs in a single season, while only five Sooners have ever recorded a 500-300 season. She has 266 digs, which is also a rally scoring record, breaking the previous mark of Logan Pierce (263). Schmitt is 13 kills shy of cracking the all-time OU single season top-10 for the category. She is currently 10th on the all-time single season list with 1,158 total attacks.
Maynes Hits 500-500 Mark
OU senior Christina Maynes moved into first place on the OU career rally scoring digs list with 15 digs in a double-double effort at Baylor (10/1). She passed 2002 graduate Denise Griffin who had 461 and stands alone at the top with 583. Maynes took over sole possession on the OU career rally scoring kills list after recording 15 kills during Cougar Challenge play. She now has 591 kills in her career. She is the only Sooner in rally scoring history (since 2001) to reach 500 in either category.
Many Signs Of Improvement
OU is projected to easily top all of its numbers from last season. OU’s averages are up in every category and the improvement has been significant in every area except digs. The biggest improvement has come in kills, where OU averaged 12.68 in 2002 and is up nearly one kill per game at 13.51. OU has already topped its kill total from last season (1176) with 1337 in 2003 and is projected to best last season by 247.