Sept. 30, 2011
Oklahoma's win over No. 8 Texas Wednesday evening was one of the greatest home victories in the program's history. Here's a look back at how the Sooners came out on top with an impressive win.
The Sooners are serving more aggressively this year, and it shows. OU had six aces to Texas’ two. The six aces weren’t the most in a five-set match this year, but that’s six points on the board and six times the Longhorns didn’t have an opportunity to score.
Barker earned All-America honors last season and after her performance Wednesday evening, it’s easy to see why. She commanded the OU offense to a .248 against the No. 8 team in the country. Texas’ opponents had been hitting .182 against the Longhorns entering the match. Barker’s distribution on the floor and execution by her hitters kept Texas off balance most of the night. In addition to her 41 assists, she added 11 digs for her 11th double-double this year. Barker connected for seven kills, a season high.
One area it was evident the Sooners made an improvement in was coverage off blocks. OU seemed more in-sync with the ball’s location and really took advantage of those second chances. OU had 10 second-chance opportunities and allowed Texas just one block off those chances.
Oklahoma’s defense has been solid the past several years, but it seemed as if an already strong defense turned it up a notch Wednesday night. María Fernanda played one of the best matches of her career, digging up almost everything that came at her. Sallie McLaurin also had 11 blocks on a night where the unlikely of the two teams came out on top in the blocks department. Perhaps one of the biggest defensive statements of the evening was a triple block by Barker, McLaurin and Morgan Reynolds to give OU its first point of the fifth set.
There were so many emotions associated with Wednesday night’s match. When the final point came down, it was pure joy for a senior class that had finally accomplished the goal of beating their archrival at home. Oklahoma head coach Santiago Restrepo got very emotional following the match when asked what it meant to get the win at home on a night where the memory of his late son was honored. Watch the postmatch interview here.
As mentioned earlier, Fernanda played on the best matches of her career Wednesday night. The junior libero had 21 digs, not even a season-high for her, but it was apparent she took note in the team’s film session. She was everywhere and her tendencies were dead on. Rarely did she dig a ball that wasn’t delivered directly to Barker. She kept her feet moving and made some very athletic plays. Fernanda was also perfect on serve receive in 27 attempts.
Oklahoma produced a .248 hitting percentage against a Texas team that had held opponents to an average .182 clip entering the match. OU committed just 17 attack errors to Texas’ 31.
Wednesday night was all about honoring the memory of a courageous four-year-old that taught us to fight like a champion. It’s no doubt Javi was with that team, and no denying this team wanted this win for him.
KRUGER, COALE AND STOOPS
Much thanks to men’s basketball head coach Lon Kruger, women’s basketball head coach Sherri Coale and head football coach Bob Stoops for signing autographs prior to the match. All the proceeds from the event went to the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center.
Texas had won four straight in the series and 37 of 39 meetings prior to Wednesday. All three of OU’s win against the Longhorns have come since 2006 and twice while they’ve been ranked No. 8. Texas hit just .202 and had 31 attack errors. UT struggled at the service line, committing 13 service errors.
One of McLaurin’s favorite songs is “Moves Like Jagger” and we’re pretty sure if she keeps playing the way she is, little girls all over the country will want to move like Sallie. McLaurin is quick to the ball and dropped 11 total blocks against the Longhorns. Last year’s Big 12 Freshman of the Year is proving it wasn’t just a fluke – she really is that good.
Oklahoma produced a perfect 100 percent sideout percentage in the fifth set, meaning Texas never scored back-to-back points.
One of the keys to the win for Oklahoma was long rallies. There were 14 rallies of five or more passes during the match. The two longest were 11 each in the third (13-19) and fourth (8-10) sets. There were three rallies of seven and six passes each and two with five.
Boulavsky had an impressive performance against the Longhorns. She dropped 20 kills and had just one attack error in 42 attempts. She hit .452 on the night and also added five block assists. Boulavsky already gets a lot of attention because of her repertoire of shots and the fact she’s a lefty playing right side. She’s Barker’s usual go-to and the two click as well as Landry Jones to Ryan Broyles.
She’s only a freshman but Tara Dunn is fun to watch. At 6-2, she’s taller than most of OU’s outside hitters, and Dunn’s ability to hit over the block makes her a very lethal weapon. She had her third double-double of the year Wednesday with 16 kills and 10 digs. She’s still learning and adjusting to the college game, and it’s exciting to see her grow every time she hits the floor.
Oklahoma is 10-0 at home this year. It’s the longest such streak to start a season. The previous best was eight straight wins at home to start the 1987 season.
Oklahoma is now 15-3 on the year and 2-0 in conference play. OU didn’t hit 15 wins until Oct. 20 last year. The Sooners went on to finish 23-11, 13-7 in the Big 12 and advance to the NCAA Championship third round.
Wednesday night’s announced attendance was 2,074, the second largest crowd ever at McCasland Field House, and it was crazy loud. Much thanks to the fans for turning out and to the OU students for supporting the Sooners. We need that every home match.