The Weekly Slate
Wednesday, Nov. 5
Howard McCasland Field House W, 3-2
The Oklahoma volleyball team, which has won two of its last three matches, looks to avenge a tough October loss against No. 21 Texas A&M this Saturday. The match is scheduled for a 7p.m. start at the G. Rollie White Coliseum on the College Station campus. OU enters with a 11-14 overall record and 3-10 conference mark, while A&M is 17-6 and 9-4.
A&M was swept at home by No. 10 Nebraska on Wednesday night. The Huskers had their way with the Aggies, winning handily in all three games. Despite the victory, the Huskers couldn’t slow down 2002 Big 12 first-teamer Laura Jones, who tallied 13 kills. Jones is seventh in the Big 12 with an average of 3.92 kills per game.
In the first meeting between A&M and OU, the Sooners were able to keep Jones in check. Jones had five kills, which were offset by five errors and a .000 hitting percentage.
The Aggie offense has five players averaging two plus kills per game, which makes it no surprise that A&M leads the Big 12 in kills (16.43), assists (15.04) and digs (17.24) per game. Middle blocker Melissa Munsch and outside hitter Carol Price average 3.60 and 2.50 kills per game, respectively. Outside hitter Beth Skypala led the Aggies in the first meeting with a team high 10 kills. Skypala leads the Aggie defense with 3.69 digs per game, while Jones (2.81) and Munsch (2.96) both average well over two digs per game.
As For The Sooners
OU showed no lingering effects from its struggles at No. 10 Nebraska last weekend, as it picked apart the Texas Tech attack on Wednesday night. Tech dominated the first game and fourth games, but the composed Sooners turned it on in crunch time.
Joanna Schmitt turned in her second double-double (22 kills, 14 digs) in the last three matches and her 11th of the season against Texas Tech. Schmitt wasn’t the leader for OU though, that honor goes to senior Christina Maynes. Maynes equaled Schmitt in kills (22) and aces (3), while besting her fellow leftsider with a match-high 19 digs and team-high .319 hitting percentage. Middle blocker Jennifer Mosso reached double-digit kills for the first time this season with a 10 kill performance against the Lady Raiders.
Other kudos went out to freshman Rachel Jackson, who collected her eighth double-double of the year with 54 assists, 13 digs and three block assists. Miss reliable Keri Coats tied her career-best for the fifth time by turning in seven block assists. Coats was efficient offensively as well with eight kills and two errors on 25 swings. Sophomore Sheena Werling made up for a slow offensive night by tying a career-high with five block assists, as well as one block solo. Senior Yvette Villanueva continues to pile up the digs, as she dug 16 for the second consecutive match.
Filling In, Stepping Up
OU head coach Kalani Mahi acknowledged at the beginning of the season that this team was the deepest he’d ever had at OU. Mahi did point to middle blocker as one area the Sooners could not afford any major injuries.
With the loss of Tomes for the season and Adams for an extended period of time, OU has shifted Coats and sophomore Jennifer Mosso into the middle.
Coats, who hasn’t played middle since high school, has been exceptional since switching positions to middle blocker. Excluding the Nebraska match, when Coats struggled, she has averaged 2.0 kills per game while hitting .284 and collecting 1.21 blocks per game.
Sophomore Sheena Werling has hit the ground running since replacing Coats at right side hitter. Werling is averaging 2.68 kills per game and hitting .202 since the move.
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 3.31 kills per game while hitting .220 and tallying a team-best 2.89 digs per game.
The team numbers haven’t fallen off drastically since the lineup change either. Below is a comparison of the season numbers before Adams and Tomes went down and the team totals since:
Schmitt Breaks Record, Eyes 400
Early in the second game against Baylor (10/29), Joanna Schmitt notched her eighth kill of the match and broke the rally scoring single season record of 342 kills held by Logan Pierce. Schmitt has 392 kills on the season and is on pace to record 501 kills this season. She will become the first Sooner in rally scoring history to record 400 kills in a single season if she collects eight against A&M Wednesday night.
Record Turn Out
The Oklahoma volleyball team enjoyed a crowd of 3,162 for their match against No. 22 Texas A&M. The crowd spurned the Sooners on as they battled the Aggies tooth and nail. OU has never had a crowd larger than 2,000 turn out for a match. The crowd ranked in the top-10 for the week and was the 46th best turnout in the NCAA this season.
- With 10 matches remaining the Sooners have 220 total blocks, which already tops the 180 posted by the Sooners in 2002. At their current pace, OU will record 282 total blocks this season.
- OU has won four consecutive matches against Baylor for the first time since 1996-97, when they swept both season series. The Sooners lead the all-time series 19-11. OU’s four match win streak against Baylor is its longest current streak against any Big 12 opponent.
- 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.
No More Texas Tech Hex
The Sooners ended a lengthy drought against Texas Tech Wednesday and dropped the Lady Raiders into last place in conference. Texas Tech had dominated OU volleyball since 1998. During that span the Sooners dropped 11 consecutive matches and failed to take a single game in any of those matches. Tech still holds a hefty margin in the all-time series with a 32-12 advantage.
Adams Nearing Return
Sophomore Jennifer Adams, sidelined since Oct. 11, is making significant strides in her rehab from a sprained ankle. Adams was available for action against Texas Tech but was not called upon.
Joanna Schmitt has gone to the well for double-doubles on 11 occasions this season. Schmitt’s total ranks as the eighth 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. Schwartz, Baylor||13|
|3. Dalager, Iowa State||12|
|8. Joanna Schmitt, OU||11|
|L. Jones, A&M||11|
|11. Skypala, A&M||9|
Coats Nears Block Assists Mark
Junior Keri Coats is six block assists shy (78) of the OU rally scoring single season block assists record held by teammate Jennifer Adams. Adams has 84 block assists this season, despite missing the last six matches due to an ankle injury. Coats is also on pace to break the OU rally scoring single season aces record held by Jessica Barney (2001) with 43. Coats currently has 32 aces.
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 (4.31) and is second in digs per game (2.62) among rookies elgilble 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 (4.51 KPG).
Assaulting the Record Book
In 25 career matches Joanna Schmitt has led OU in total attacks 23 times, kills 22 times and digs seven times. She is on pace to break a number of records. With seven matches remaining she already owns the OU rally scoring kills record with a current total of 392. Schmitt is on pace to record 501 kills this season, the eighth best single-season total in OU volleyball history, regardless of scoring system. The favorite target of OU’s setters is on pace to take 1,381 swings this year, a mark that would rank fifth 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. Her projected digs total of 304 is another OU rally scoring record and would place her just outside the top 10 on OU’s all-time list. Schmitt only needed 19 matches to pass 2002 kills leader Megan O’Connell (289) and is already third on the OU rally scoring career kills list.
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 565. Maynes took over sole possession on the OU career rally scoring kills list after recording 15 kills during Cougar Challenge play. She now has 567 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 1243 in 2003 and is projected to best last season by 424.