Norman, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma volleyball team handed No. 11 Kansas State its first loss of the season in a 3-0 sweep (27-25, 25-19, 25-21), Wednesday night in both teams' Big 12, 2012 opener at McCasland Field House.
The Sooners have won six-straight matches, with five consecutive sweeps to improve to 12-3 on the season with tonight's victory. This is Oklahoma's second win against a ranked opponent this season as Oklahoma previously defeated No. 19 Kentucky in four sets (3-1; 25-20, 25-20, 17-25, 25-22) at the Ameritas Players Challenge in Lincoln, Neb., on September 7.
"I wish that we could keep this consistency all of the time," explained Oklahoma head coach Santiago Restrepo. "I think that we had our key players hitting at a very high percentage - look at Morgan Reynolds - she had 12 kills for .435 on the night, which is extremely good for a right side hitter."
"Then you had Tara with 10 kills to hit .250 and Sally with eight for .412. Those are three key players for the team that have to hit at a very high level for us to win games and be able to compete at this level, against top-five teams."
With the win, the Sooners are now 15-116 against ranked opponents, including a 14-58 record under Restrepo.
Oklahoma is now 8-9 in Big 12 openers, and 9-8 in conference home-openers. Tonight's victory marked the seventh-straight conference-opening win, including six at McCasland Field House. Head coach Santiago Restrepo has led OU through each of those win streaks since 2006 when the Sooners swept past Texas A&M in three.
"I think it's a combination of everything," remarked Reynolds. "It's our first home-opener and first conference match, plus we're playing at home."
"We just had great chemistry tonight," beamed Reynolds as she looked back on the win.
Freshman setter Julia Doyle continued her outstanding season, when she totaled five service aces to break her own personal-best performance, and an individual OU match record that has been standing since Bridget Laplante totaled four against Nicholls State on August 29, 2009.
Maria Fernanda continued to play great defense as she tied Keila Rodriguez with a team-high nine digs. Additionally, Rodriguez added four kills for the Sooners.
The Sooners trailed 0-2 to begin the first set, until a kill from McLaurin tied it up 2-2. It was the first of 12 ties throughout the opening stanza, as the Wildcats pulled ahead 2-6 on a four-point scoring run. Oklahoma returned the action with three points of its own to close the gap, 6-8, and eventually tie the match again at 8-8 all.
Oklahoma finally caught its first significant lead of the set after Dunn posted back-to-back kills and put OU up 20-17. The Wildcats weren't finished as they fought back to eventually take a one-point lead at 23-22. Kansas State continued to add points, and even delayed match-point with a successful swing from Kaitlynn Pelger, until Holst gave Oklahoma the one-point advantage heading into the closing minutes. The Sooners secured the first set victory, 27-25 after Kansas State's Alex Muffer hit the ball out of bounds.
The Sooners jumped ahead to a 4-1 lead to begin the second stanza, and held the advantage throughout the opening minutes. Oklahoma carried its largest lead at 18-9, until Kansas State went on a four-point run to close the gap, 18-13. The Wildcats steadily added points here-and-there, but it wasn't enough to hold off the Sooners as they totaled a quick three points of their own to secure the lead, 23-15. Kansas State would go on to add four more points, but it was Oklahoma who would prevail, 25-19 and take the 2-0 match lead.
OU carried the momentum from the second set straight into the third as it gathered a quick 7-0 lead to start the final stanza. It was a lead OU would never drop as it maintained the advantage all the way to match point. Consecutive Sooner attack errors gave the Wildcats their smallest gap of the night at 12-10. Both teams traded points until the end, as Kansas State held off Oklahoma's set-point twice. It was McLaurin's eighth and final swing that gave Oklahoma the set, 25-21, secured the team's sixth-straight win, fifth-straight sweep and improved the Sooners to 12-3 on the year.
Oklahoma continues Big 12 action this weekend when it heads south to Austin, Texas Saturday, Sept. 22. First serve is set for 5 p.m. CT. Saturday's match against Texas will be featured live on the Longhorn Network. Gametracker live stats, along with an audio webcast will be available on TexasSports.com.
For all the latest information on Oklahoma volleyball, please log on to www.SoonerSports.com or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow Oklahoma volleyball on Twitter at @SoonersVB (https://twitter.com/SoonersVB)