The Weekly Slate
Chattanooga Invitational (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Fri., Sept. 5
vs. Drake 2 p.m.
at Tennessee Chattanooga 6 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 6
vs. Lipscomb 10 a.m.
vs. Louisiana-Monroe 2 p.m.
Oklahoma (0-3) looks to build on the improvements made at the Cougar Challenge last weekend when they enter the Chattanooga Invitational this weekend (Sept. 5-6).
OU opens against Drake, who enters with the best record in the field at 3-0. Drake was picked by Missouri Valley Conference coaches to finish eighth in the league. The Bulldogs won the Pepsi/Super 8 Invitational hosted by Eastern Illinois last weekend. The Bulldogs needed five games to defeat Western Illinois and host Eastern, while it only took four games for the Bulldogs to dispense Evansville. Sophomore outside hitter Stacey Boerema made the all-tournament squad after averaging 4.0 kills per game, highlighted by a 24 kill performance against Eastern Illinois.
OU faces host Tennessee-Chattanooga at 6 p.m. Friday. Chattanooga went 1-2 in the Indiana State Tournament last weekend with a five game win over Montana. The Lady Mocs were picked to finish seventh in the Southern Conference and senior outside hitter Kari Krouse was named to the preseason all-conference team.
The Sooners open Saturday action at 10 a.m. against Lipscomb. Lipscomb went 1-2 in the Pirate Invitational, defeating Radford in its season-opener three games to two. The Lady Bisons were swept by Louisiana Tech and lost in four games to Louisiana-Lafayette during the second day of tournament action.
OU closes Invitational action against Louisiana-Monroe at 2 p.m, Sept. 6. The Lady Indians went 1-2 in the Our Lady of Lourdes Sportscare Classic in Lafayette, La. ULM lost its first two matches before ending its 11-game losing skid with a 3-1 defeat of Alcorn State. Freshman outside hitter Lindsey Ehlert was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 3.83 kills per game.
The only teams in the Chattanooga Invite field that OU has faced before is Louisiana-Monroe, who the Sooners swept in the Ewing Grover Olds/GMC Invitational in Tulsa, Okla., last season. OU limited the Lady Indians to less than 20 points in each of the three games. OU recorded a school record with 11 aces against the Lady Indians in last season's meeting.
As for the Sooners
A few things standout after OU's disappointing showing at the Cougar Challenge.
First and foremost, despite the 0-3 start to the season, the feedback wasn't all negative for OU. In fact OU was really only insufficient in one area, passing.
Secondly, while it's still early the Sooners appear to have vastly improved their blocking. The young front middle line of sophomore Jennifer Adams (1.27) and freshman Laura Tomes (1.00) combined to average 2.27 blocks per game last weekend. OU's team average is 2.59, which is more than half a block better than last year's 1.92 average.
Thirdly, freshman outside hitter Joanna Schmitt is ready to lead the Sooner offensive attack. Schmitt didn't waste any time fielding a breakout performance in her collegiate debut with team highs in kills (10) and digs (18). She leads OU with averages of 3.36 KPG and 2.91 DPG. Schmit has 116 total attacks, more than twice the number of swings of anyone except Keri Coats (66).
-Oklahoma was one of four Big 12 teams to better their predicted finish in the 2002 preseason Big 12 coaches poll. OU was predicted to finish tenth, they finished ninth. Kansas State, Kansas and Texas also beat the predictions. OU was picked to finish tenth in 2003.
- The only team in the Chattanooga Invitational field that OU has faced is Louisiana-Monroe. The Sooners swept the Lady Indians in the 2002 Ewing Grover Olds/GMC Invitational (Tulsa, Okla.). OU is 26-35 all-time against current Southland Conference members. If you exclude Texas-Arlington (11-26), the Sooners are 16-9 against the conference.
-Freshman setter Rachel Jackson relieved Kelly McCarter in game two of OU's loss to San Francisco on Saturday (8/30). In the fist game of her collegiate career she collected 12 assists and finished the match wtih 18. The 12 assists was tournament single game high for the Sooners.
- OU's all-time record in season openers fell to 11-19.
- Senior Christina Maynes has improved her kills per game, hitting percentage, digs per game and blocks per game every season at OU.
- OU's recruiting class of Joanna Schmitt, Anna Monsen and Laura Tomes was ranked No. 22 in the country and No. 4 in the Big 12 by Volleyball Magazine. OU added senior-transfer Kelly McCarter, junior-transfers Keri Coats and Stephanie Tengram, sophomore-transfer Daphne Leach and freshman Kelli Albers and Rachel Jackson since the rankings were announced.
Maynes Tops Kills List
OU senior Christina Maynes took over sole possession on the OU career rally scoring list after recording 15 digs in the Cougar Challenge last weekend. She stands in first place on the kills list with 440, while also ranking second in aces (32) and third in digs (391).
Twice The Debut
Joanna Schmitt's double-double (10 kills, 18 digs) was the best debut performance of any Sooner during the Kalani Mahi era. Schmitt's only competition was from Logan Pierce who put up 12 kills and 11 digs in the 2000 season-opener against New Mexico State.
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.
OU Head Coach Kalani Mahi
Oklahoma Head Coach Kalani Mahi is in his fourth year at the helm of an accomplished Sooner volleyball program and hopes are high for success in the very near future. Mahi returns five starters and adds nine newcomers in 2003. The coaching staff is coming off its best recruiting class and what they think may be the best in OU history
Coach Mahi is assisted by his wife, Christy Mahi and Josh Ivans. All three have ties to their alma mater, Graceland College, where each got their start in volleyball at the collegiate level.
No stranger to success on the court, Mahi headed up successful programs at both Bradley (1995-97 as head coach & 92-94 as assistant) and Illinois State (1998-99). He has also played competitively indoor and outdoor and has been a part of teams that have finished fifth and seventh in the USA Volleyball Open National Indoor Championships.