NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma volleyball team swept Arkansas in its home opener before a crowd of 817 at McCasland Field House, Tuesday night. The Sooners remained undefeated on the season at 4-0, while handing the Razorbacks their first loss of the year as they dropped to 3-1.
OU led by as many as eight in the first set and held on for a 25-22 win and again won in the second, 25-22, after leading by as many as seven. The third set was back-and-forth, with the first two-point lead coming for the Sooners at 11-9. Oklahoma was able to put some distance between itself and Arkansas with three-straight points on two kills by senior middle blocker Sallie McLaurin (Midwest City, Okla.) and an attack error by the Razorbacks to go up 22-18 en route to a 25-21 win in the third.
“I think the one thing that we are doing very well, is we are defending very well behind the block,” stated head coach Santiago Restrepo. “We are also being very smart with the ball and keeping the ball in play.
“I’ve been telling the hitters, ‘we want to generate kills’. Sometimes the sets are not there for our hitters, so they have to be smarter with the ball and give an opportunity to what we do best. We only had 42 kills to [Arkansas’] 45, but we only had 12 errors to their 21.”
McLaurin was the only OU player in double figures with 13 kills as she hit .387 for the match. She lifted her career total to 967. Arkansas’ Meredith Hays tied McLaurin for the match lead with 13 kills.
Senior libero Eden Williams (Amarillo, Texas) dominated on defense with 18 digs, backed up by fellow seniors Keila Rodrigeuz (Gurabo, Puerto Rico) and Mindy Gowen (Edmond, Okla.) with 15 and 11, respectively. Emily Helm tied Williams for the match-high with 18.
As a team, the Sooners hit .259 and held the Razorbacks to a .176 attack rate. Oklahoma has held each of its four opponents to a hitting percentage below .200.
OU improved to 76-35 at McCasland Field House under Restrepo, while lifting its record in home openers to 26-14, including an 8-2 mark under Restrepo.
Oklahoma is 699-668-7 all-time in its 40-year history.
The Sooners head to Portland, Oregon this weekend for three matches at the PSU Invitational, beginning Friday night against Pacific at 6:00 pm. The action continues on Saturday against the host, followed by a NCAA Second Round re-match with BYU.