The Weekly Slate
At Oral Roberts
Tues., Sept. 16 OU 3, ORU 1
At Missouri (Big 12 Opener)
Sat., Sept. 20 7 p.m.
Oklahoma opens the Big 12 season with Missouri in Columbia at the Hearnes Center on Tuesday night. The Saturday match has been moved up to 5 p.m., from its original schedule time of 7 p.m.
Missouri, which was ranked No. 23 in last week's AVCA poll, ran off five consecutive wins to begin the season before dropping two straight against Ohio and Utah. The Tigers snapped their two match losing steak with sweeps of Bradley and Marquette to close the Marquette Classic. Mary Lauren Smith and Shen Danru were named to the all-tournament team.
Missouri runs a 5-1 system with sophomore Lindsay Hunter at setter. Hunter averages 12.07 assist per game and dishes the ball off to Smith (3.76 kpg) and Danru (3.97 kpg). The Tigers have six freshmen on their squad and rookies Jessica Vander Kooi (OH) and Nicole Wilson (MB) are in the regular rotation.
OU has dropped six consecutive meetings with Mizzou. In their most recent meeting, OU took one game from the No. 21 ranked Tigers in Norman last season. OU leads the all-time series 32-20.
Missouri knocked off Baylor in Waco, 3-1, Wednesday night thanks to 21 kills from Shen Danru and Mary Lauren Smith. Mizzou hit. 272, as opposed to Baylor's .114 and recorded 17 total blocks.
As for the Sooners
Prospects are bright for the Sooners with the Big 12 season just around the corner. OU has won eight of its last nine matches and is 8-4 on the season, with the best 12 match total of OU head coach Kalani Mahi's tenure. It also marks the highest win total of any Sooner squad under Mahi with 20 games remaining on the schedule.
On Tuesday (Sept. 16) the Sooners beat Oral Roberts in four games and became just the fourth team in the last 95 visits to leave victorious. Joanna Schmitt set an OU rally scoring four game record with 23 kills, tying the mark set by Logan Pierce in 2000. The most encouraging part of the match was that OU had 80 digs, the second highest four game total this season and an average of 20 a game. The Sooners have a season average of 14.41 digs per game, which was at 13.93 prior to the match.
Other standout performances from the regional showdown were turned in by Sheena Werling, Laura Tomes, Rachel Jackson and Yvette Villanueva. Werling recorded her third double-double of the season (12 kills, 11 digs) and was joined in the execlusive club by Jackson (29 assists, 10 digs) and Schmitt (23 kills, 15 digs). Tomes recorded 10 kills, five blocks assists, and one solo block. Senior libero Yvette Villanueva had just two digs in the first two games but rebounded with 10 in the third game for 16 in the match.
The freshman trio of Joanna Schmitt, Laura Tomes and Rachel Jackson are quickly becoming the team leaders. Schmitt leads OU with 4.11 kills per game and 2.82 digs per game. Tomes tops the Sooner squad with a .296 hitting percentage and is second with 1.24 blocks per game. Despite sharing time with senior Kelly McCarter, Jackson is leading the Sooners with 8.68 assist per game, ranking third in digs per game (2.26) and second in hitting percentage (.300).
OU's success this season has come when they are able to get the ball to Tomes and junior-transfer Keri Coats . Of the regulars, Tomes (.296) and Coats (.254) have the two highest hitting percentages on the squad. In OU's four losses this season the duo has only taken 29 percent of the team's total attacks. While Schmitt and sophomore Sheena Werling, the left side attackers, have taken 56 percent of the swings in the losses. In OU's victories Tomes and Coats have taken 31 percent of the swings and the left side attackers have taken 52 percent. The numbers aren't drastic, except when consider that OU has lost 12 games and in nine of those losses have come by five or less points.
The emergence of Jackson as the quarterback of OU's offense continues to produce positive results. The Sooners are 6-2 when the rookie plays the majority of the game. That is not to say that senior Kelly McCarter's influence hasn't been felt. When the Sooners run a modified 5-1 system, with Jackson setting from the back and McCarter setting in the front row, the Sooners are undefeated (6-0) including their most recent match against Oral Roberts.
The Sooners continue to be one of the best in the Big 12 in blocking. OU averages 2.87 blocks per game and has four individuals averaging 0.8 blocks per game or better. OU has record 15 or more total blocks on four occasions this season, that mark was never reached in 2002.
- OU is 6-0 in first time meetings this season. The Sooners have played every school remaining on their schedule a minimum of 22 times.
- OU had not defeated Oral Roberts, which has won six consecutive Mid Contiental Conference titles and reached the NCAA tournament each of those years, since 1994, a span of four matches.\
- OU is 9-8 in preconference tournaments (2-4 last season) the last two seasons.
- OU hit above. 200 eight times last season. The Sooner have hit above .200 seven times this season and in seven of the last eight matches. OU is 6-1 in those contests.
- OU's six match winning streak, which was snapped by Morehead State, was the longest of the Mahi era and the best since 1996 when the Sooners ran off nine consecutive wins.
- OU hit .364 in the Liberty University Invitational, which was just the second time OU has hit .300 as a team under the current rally scoring system.
- With 20 matches remaining the Sooners have 132 total blocks, which is 45 away from the 177 total blocks they posted last season. At their current pace, OU would record 352 total blocks this season.
The biggest surprise of the season for OU is the emergence of walk-on freshman Rachel Jackson. She leads OU with 8.68 assists per game and broke the five game assists record twice. Jackson tallied 52 assists in a five game defeat of East Carolina, then turned around and set up 54 assists in a loss to Morehead State. She broke on to the scene against Tennessee-Chattanooga when coach Mahi pulled senior Kelly McCarter and put in Jackson who tallied 40 (13.3) assists in three games of action.
Get Her The Ball
Freshman aren't supposed to be consistent, Laura Tomes is. When she records at least 21 attacks this season she is hitting .337 (88-27-181), when she gets set 25 plus times she is hitting .321 (65-21-137). Her consistency has landed her atop the OU squad with a .296 hitting percentage. Despite her efficient numbers, Tomes is tied for fourth on the OU squad with 260 total attacks. The ball has been coming her way more lately though. In the season opening Cougar Challenge she averaged 17.6 attacks per match, since she has averaged 25.8. Tomes owns three of the top six hitting percentage single match performances in OU rally scoring history and is tied for the best ever outing thanks to a .619 (15-2-21) performance against Louisiana Monroe.
Giving It A Werl
Sophomore Sheena Werling has been one of the most talented players on OU's squad during her three years (redshirted as freshman) in Norman. This year the talent is producing results after a summer spent on the sand volleyball court. Prior to the victory against Oral Roberts, when she hit .195 (14-6-41), Werling had hit above .200 in four consecutive matches. In 2002 she hit above .200 in four matches, only twice when she saw significant playing time. Werling is second on the squad with a 3.02 kills per game average and has averaged 3.4 kills a game and 15.5 kills a match over the last four contests.
Sophomore Jennifer Adams figured to be the odd woman out at middle blocker when training camp began. Jennifer Mosso had started at middle blocker during the entire Big 12 season in 2002 and appeared to be a lock at the position. Adams earned the starting nod and won't be relinquishing it anytime soon. The California native has at least five (BS+BA) total blocks in 11 of 12 matches this season and has at least five block assists in nine matches. In 44 games last season Adams had four solo blocks and 26 block assists. She surpassed her 2002 block assists total in six matches this season (28) and leads the Sooners with 63 assists this season. Her blocks per game average, now at 1.43, improved in each of the preconference tournaments and has her ranked
Senior Christina Maynes has made a smooth transition to defensive specialist for OU. Ironically, it was originally her passing that kept her out of the lineup at outside hitter. She has averaged 2.14 digs per game since switching positions and is third on the team with a 2.00 season average.
Most Valuable Player
Joanna Schmitt's impact on OU volleyball team this season cannot be underestimated. Schmitt leads OU offensively with 4.11 KPG and is the team's best passer at 2.82 DPG. In 12 career matches she has led OU in total attacks 11 times, kills nine times and digs five times. She garnered MVP honors in the Chattanooga Invitational and was all-tournament in the Cougar Challenge. Joanna Schmitt (493) is on pace to obliterate the OU rally scoring single season kills record of Logan Pierce (342).
Maynes Tops Kill List
OU senior Christina Maynes took over sole possession on the OU career rally scoring list after recording 15 digs in the Cougar Challenge. She stands in first place on the kills list with 441. Maynes is also in second place on the career digs list with 444.
Upon Further Review
The Oklahoma volleyball team was awarded the Liberty University Invitational Championship on Thursday, Sept. 18, after it was announced upon the tournaments conslucsion that Morehead State had won the title. The tourney title was the second of the season for OU and the third during Mahi's tenure.
Sooners In Spikes
The OU volleyball team is packed with athletes who excel at track and field. Leading the bunch is freshman Anna Monsen who is the first athlete in Wisconsin state history to win the 100 meter dash all four years of high school. Sophomore Sheena Werling is a member of the Sooner track team and competes in high jump during the indoor season. Freshman middle hitter Laura Tomes was a two time Iowa state high jump champion and one-time state runner up in the long jump. Joanna Schmitt qualified for state finals in the long jump, hurdles and sprints.
# 11 Jennifer Adams
Ranked third in the Big 12 with 1.43 blocks per game and is just .003 away from second place (Melissa Munsch, A&M) ... Has at least five total blocks (BS+BA) in 11 of 12 matches this season ... Recorded at least five block assists in nine matches ...one of four Sooners to play in every game of every match this season ... She surpassed her 2002 block assists total in six matches this season (28) and leads the Sooners with 63 assists this season ... Set a new career-high by hitting .500 (10-1-18) against East Carolina in the Liberty University Invitational ... Set a new career-high with four aces against Louisiana Monroe ... Recorded 20 total blocks during the Chattanooga Invitational ... Set a career-high with six block assists against Lipscomb and at Washington State.
#14 Kelli Albers
Seen game action against Lipscomb and Elon ... has one attack error, one attack and one assist this season.
#13 Keri Coats
Eighth in the Big 12 with 0.39 aces per game ... Fourth on team in kills per game (1.96) and second in hitting percentage (.254) ... Has just eight errors over last seven matches (Sept. 6-16) ... Named to the Liberty University Invitational all-tournament team ... Averaged 11.25 kills over last four matches ... Recorded season-high 12 kills against Liberty (9/5) ... Has seven or more kills in nine matches ... Has two error free matches with seven plus kills (Drake, Lipscomb) on the season ... Standout match against Oral Roberts with eight kills, .318 hitting percentage, two aces, four digs, one solo block and six block assists ... Hit .538 in Chattanooga Invitational against Drake, with seven kills and no errors on 17 attempts .... Recorded new career-highs in every category except aces during Chattanooga Invitational ... Recorded eight kills in Sooner debut against Washington State.
# 2 Rachel Jackson
Surprise story of the young season ... 10th in the Big 12 in assists per game (8.68) ... Second on the team with four double-doubles ... Has three consecutive double-doubles ... Coaches are running a modified 5-1 to get Jackson and senior Kelly McCarter on the court at the same time ... recorded team season-high 40 assists in three games against Tenn.-Chattanooga (9/6) .... Also recorded first career double-double with 11 digs against Chattanooga ... Ran a modified 5-1 system with McCarter in final two matches of Chattanooga Invitational ... Subbed into final match of Cougar Challenge against San Francisco and made immediate impact in debut ... Assisted on 12 kills during game two against Dons, which was OU tournament single game high.
#3 Daphne Leach
Left the team prior to the Oral Roberts match due to personal problems ... Played in two games of Liberty University opener against Elon ... Recorded back-to-back six dig outings in only action of Chattanooga Invitational ... Collected eight digs in her Sooner debut against Washington State ... Played in nine of 11 games during Cougar Challenge.
#7 Christina Maynes
Has transitioned to starting defensive specialist after playing outside hitter during her first three seasons in Norman ... Fourth on the squad with 2.11 digs per game average ... collected first double-digit performance of the season with 17 digs against Morehead State ... Came off the bench to collected eight kills against Washington State and seven against Wichita State.
#6 Kelly McCarter
Senior has scene reduced role thanks to the emergence of Rachel Jackson ... Although her presence has been felt, with OU going 6-0 when Jackson and her run a modified 5-1 and share setting duties ... Consistent against ORU with two kills, 15 assists, three digs, one solo block and two block assists ... Had 21 assists and five block assists in OU's four game thumping of Liberty ... Stellar with 37 assist in sweep of Drake ... ran modified 5-1 system with Rachel Jackson in final two matches of Chattanooga Invitational ... Flourished about Louisiana-Monroe as she recorded 18 assists ... Collected 34 assists in each of the first two matches in the Cougar Challenge ... was pulled out of the San Francisco match so that freshman Rachel Jackson could see time at setter ... team co-captain.
#10 Anna Monsen
Will play primarily at defensive specialist this season... being groomed to set in the future ... daily takes extra reps after practice ... reached double figures for the first time in her Sooner career with 10 digs against Morehead State in the Liberty University Invitational ... Posting high of eight digs against San Francisco in the Cougar Challenge ... featured in Sports Illustrated's Face in the Crowd in Aug. 25 issue for her accomplishments as a high school sprinter.
#9 Jennifer Mosso
Played in four games and has three kills on five attempts ... Saw first action of the season in two matches at Chattanooga Invitational.
#8 Joanna Schmitt
Ninth in the Big 12 with 4.11 kills per game ... Leads OU in kills per game (4.11) and digs per game (2.82) ... Led OU in kills eight times this season ... Has team-high six double-doubles on the season ... Recorded double-digit kills in every match except one, with 15 or more eight times ... Set a new career-high with 23 kills against Oral Roberts ... Turned in double-doubles in the last three matches ... Best match of the nonconference season came against Oral Roberts with 23 kills and 15 digs ... 23 kills against ORU tied the OU four game rally scoring kills record of Logan Pierce (2000) ... averaged 19.3 kills per match in the final three games of the Liberty University Invitational ... Rested against Elon in opening match of Liberty University Invitational .. Erased all of her career-highs with new numbers during the Chattanooga Invitational ... Named Chattanooga Invitational MVP after averaging 4.57 KPG and 3.14 DPG ... Set OU rally scoring record with 18 kills in three game victory over Drake ... Collected 20 kills and 14 digs in the best performance to date against Tennessee Chattanooga ... Recorded double-double in collegiate debut with 10 kills and 18 digs ... Named to the Cougar Challenge All-Tournament Team.
#5 Stephanie Tengram
Saw first action of the season in game four of match against Lipscomb ... Played in two matches at the Liberty University Invitational.
#4 Laura Tomes
Sixth in the Big 12 with 1.24 blocks per game ... Leads OU with .296 hitting percentage, third in kills per game (2.54) and second in blocks per game (1.24) ... Owns three of the top six hitting percentages under the rally scoring system at OU ... Has six matches with at least five block assists, including four of the last five matches ... Tops on the team with seven solo blocks ... Tomes (1.24) and Adams (1.43) combined blocks per game average is higher than OU team average (1.92) in 2002 ... Earned all-tourney honors at the Liberty University Invitational ... Hit .404 Liberty invite with averages of 2.76 kills per game and 1.141 blocks per game ... Jumped her hitting percentage from .262 before the LUI to .316 after ... Hit .370 during the Chattanooga Invitational, including record tying .619 performance in sweep of Louisiana-Monroe ... averaged 3.29 kills per game during Chattanooga Invitational ... Turned in five kills and two solo blocks during collegiate debut against Washington State ... Averaged 1.00 BPG during Cougar challenge.
#12 Yvette Villanueva
One of only four Sooners to start and play in every game this season ... Recorded double-digit digs in six of 11 matches ... Had just two digs in first two games against Oral Roberts, only to rebound with 10 in the third game and 16 in the match ... team co-captain.
#15 Sheena Werling
Sixth in the Big 12 in aces per game at 0.40 ... Second on the team in kills per game (3.02) and fourth in digs per game (2.02) ... Has three double-doubles on the season (two consecutive), which is third on the squad behind Schmitt and Jackson ... Stellar against Oral Roberts with 14 kills and 11 digs ... Pounded career-high 20 kills, plus 13 digs against Morehead State ... Werling averaged 3.24 kills per game in the Liberty University Invitational, easily the best four match stretch of her career ... Set an OU record with five aces against Drake (9/5), only to break record with six aces against UL-Monroe (9/6) ... Recorded the first double-double of her career with 16 kill, 14 dig performance against UT-Chattanooga ... rebounded from inconsistent opener to hit above. 200 in final two game of Cougar Challenge ... team co-captain.