Nov. 7, 2000

Home Sweet Home

Oklahoma (7-15, 2-12 Big 12) encounters its only two-match homestand of the season as the Sooners host Baylor (13-11, 6-9 Big 12) and Texas Tech (20-6, 8-6 Big 12) at the OU Fieldhouse this week. The Bears travel to Norman for a Wednesday night, Nov. 8, match at 7 p.m., while the Red Raiders ride into town on Saturday, Nov. 11, for a 7 p.m. first serve.

OU is averaging 0.73 kills per game more and a .052 percent higher in its hitting percentage at home this season than on the road.

Last Time Out

The Sooners swept Iowa State, 15-7, 15-7 and 15-8, enroute to its first Big 12 Conference road win of the season Saturday afternoon at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. Oklahoma's senior middle blocking duo of Cathy Cook and Holly McMillan sparked the Sooner offensive attack as Cook landed a team-high 14 kills and McMillan was flawless in her attacking as she recorded a career-best .529 hitting percentage (9k-0e-17ta) to lead OU. The victory completed a season sweep by Oklahoma over Iowa State as the Sooners defeated the Cyclones, 3-2, earlier in the year in Norman.

Cook and senior outside hitter Maria Holmgren led the Sooners in game one to their highest attack percentage of the match at .333, as Oklahoma claimed victory, 15-7. Both players posted four kills a piece, without committing an error, to lead the squad as the team connected on 14 kills while committing only three errors in 33 attempts. Cook also recorded four of her season and match-high six block assists in the first game alone.

Game two ended as game one had at 15-7 with the help of Cook and the Sooners' outstanding service game. Cook once again led OU in kills for the second-straight game with four as she continued her match-opening streak of eight kills without committing an error. The team's service game was a key factor in scoring points for the Sooners as the team recorded over half its match total with four aces, led by sophomore setter Jessica Barney with two.

After landing only four kills total through games one and two, McMillan cranked out five kills in game three alone as the Sooners closed out the match with a 15-8 victory. Freshman outside hitter Karli Maughan, who entered the match in game three, equalled McMillan's effort with a career-high five kills in nine attempts, while committing three errors. Cook once again led OU in kills with six of her own in the third game, while suffering her only two errors of the contest.

A Closer Look At OU

The Sooners opened the 2000 season with five-straight wins, a first in program history, and a tournament title. OU rattled off its first four victories, dropping only three games over that span, to win the Lamar Cardinal Classic and earn senior middle blocker Cathy Cook tournament Most Valuable Player honors.

Oklahoma ended its nine-match losing streak Saturday against Iowa State, completing a season sweep of the Cyclones. Against ISU, Cook led the team in kills for the 18th time this year as she continues to lead the squad with a 4.49 kills per game average and a .337 hitting percentage. On the defensive end, fellow senior middle blocker Holly McMillan leads the team in blocks, averaging close to a block per game at 0.92, and senior setter Carolyn Kittell is the team leader in digs with a 2.41 average. As a team, Oklahoma ranks third in the Big 12 in service aces per game with a 1.76 average.

Scouting Baylor

Baylor stands in a tie for seventh place with Texas in the Big 12 Conference after dropping its last three league matches. With a loss to Kansas on Saturday, the Bears' win drought extended to three matches which tied its longest of the season.

BU holds the league's second best kills per game average at 18.26. The team also owns one of the top hitting percentages at .251, good enough for a tie for fourth place. Freshman outside hitting sensation Stevie Nicholas leads the Bears' attack with a Big 12-best 5.74 kills per game average. Nicholas already owns four school records and eight freshman school records and is on pace to break Baylor's single-season kill total. Junior setter Dana Chuha is also one of the best in the league as she holds the top assists per game average at 15.34 per game.

Scouting Texas Tech

Since defeating Oklahoma at the beginning of October, Texas Tech has gone 4-5 over its last nine matches. Two of the five losses were five-game set backs and the Red Raiders were hampered by a 1-3 road record over that stretch.

Texas Tech is the top serving team in the Big 12 Conference with a 1.84 service aces per game average, while the team also ranks as one of the best defensive teams in the league with a 18.80 digs per game average. Junior outside hitter Heather Justice is the league's top server with a 0.68 aces per game average, while three Red Raiders rank in the conference's top 10 in digs per game. Senior outside hitter Colleen Smith leads the Red Raiders offensively with a 4.67 kills per game average, good for fourth best in the Big 12. Senior middle blocker Janelle Jones leads all starters with a .308 hitting percentage.

The Series

The all-time series between Baylor and Oklahoma is very close. Although the Sooners own a 15-8 all-time edge, the Bears have begun to narrow the margin in recent years. Baylor has won four of the last five contests against OU, including a 3-0 defeat of the Sooners earlier this year. Baylor picked up its first win (in 10 tries) in Norman last year with a 3-2 victory.

Texas Tech owns a 26-11 lead in the all-time series against Oklahoma. The Red Raiders have swept the last five contests, dating back to 1998. The 1997 season was the last time OU pulled off a victory over TTU as the Sooners swept the season series. The Red Raiders also own a commanding 10-5 advantage over the Sooners on OU's home court.

Among the League Leaders

As of November 6, several Sooners continue to remain among the Big 12 Conference's individual leaders in several categories.

Cathy Cook
Hitting Percentage - 11th (.337)
Kills - Fifth (4.49)

Carolyn Kittell
Assists - 10th (11.52)
Service Aces - Fifth (0.35)

Holly McMillan
Service Aces - Sixth (0.34)

Jessica Barney
Service Aces - Second (0.47)

Serving Up A Storm

The 2000 squad has kept up the excellence in the serving game that has come to be expected out of the Oklahoma volleyball team. After ending the 1999 season ranked third overall in the Big 12 Conference and second in the league standings in service aces per game, this year's team is in third place averaging 1.76 aces per game. The Sooners trail first place Texas Tech by only .08 aces per game.

Individually, Oklahoma has three players ranked among the conference's top five individuals in aces per game, led by sophomore Jessica Barney (second - 0.47), senior Carolyn Kittell (fifth - 0.35) and senior Holly McMillan (sixth - 0.34). Barney leads all Sooners with nine multiple-ace performances, including tying a career-high five aces against Iowa State.

Doubling Up On Double-Doubles

Senior middle blocker Holly McMillan registered her fourth double-double performance of the season against Kansas. The Livermore, Calif., native landed a season-high 11 kills and a career-high 13 digs in the match. McMillan scored her other three double-double efforts against Iowa State, Lamar and New Mexico State at the beginning of the year. McMillan leads the team in the category.

By accomplishing her fourth double-double of the season, McMillan has equalled her career double-double total of four.

Quickie Notes

*Senior middle blocker Holly McMillan recorded a career-high .529 hitting percentage at Iowa State. The Livermore, Calif., native landed nine kills in 17 attempts, without committing an error.

*The team held top-ranked Nebraska, the league's top hitting team, to a .287 attack percentage last week, .050 points below their season average.

*Senior middle blocker Cathy Cook has led the Sooners in kills in 18 of 22 matches.

*The Sooners enjoyed their largest home crowd in two years when 1,815 screaming fans watched the Sooners defeat Iowa State. It was the largest crowd at the OU Field House for a volleyball match since the 1998 season when 1,362 fans gathered to watch Oklahoma battle then-No. 12 Colorado.

*The squad jumped out to the first 5-0 start in school history to begin the season.

Cook Selected As Preseason All-Big 12

Senior Cathy Cook was named to the 2000 preseason All-Big 12 Conference volleyball team after being named the 1999 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. The Irvine, Calif., native was the team's top returning hitter and middle blocker. She ended last season ranked 29th in the nation and third in the league in hitting efficiency with a .358.

Cook also was selected to the 1999 All-Big 12 honorable mention team. The last time a Sooner volleyball member was selected to the All-Big 12 team in consecutive years was in 1997 when Patrice Arrington was selected to the league's first team for the second-straight year and the third year that the All-American was honored as an All-Big 12 selection.

Head Coach Kalani Mahi

Kalani Mahi embarks on his first year at the helm of the Oklahoma volleyball program this season. Already this season, Mahi has led the Sooners to a tournament title at the Lamar Cardinal Classic and OU's first 5-0 start in the program's 27-year history.

Prior to arriving in Norman, Mahi, a native of Kaneohe, Hawaii, served as the top assistant coach at Illinois State, where he assisted the Redbirds to two-consecutive second place finishes in the Missouri Valley Conference and an NCAA at-large bid in 1998.

Before assisting at Illinois State, Mahi served as the head coach at Bradley University from 1995-1997, guiding the Braves to three consecutive Missouri Valley Conference Championship Tournament appearances, a first in school history. He joined the Braves' coaching staff as an assistant in 1992, and was elevated to the head position in 1995.