NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma volleyball team heads to Palo Alto, California for its fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance for a match-up with Alabama on Thursday, December 5 at 6:30 pm CST. The Sooners, who will participate in their 10th NCAA Tournament, enter postseason play at 23-7 after an 11-5 record and tie for third place in the Big 12.
The host No. 7-seed Stanford takes on Hampton in the nightcap on Thursday at 9:00 pm. The winners will meet in the Second Round on Friday, December 6 at 9:00 pm.
Oklahoma’s 23 wins are tied for the second most in the Santiago Restrepo era and 11 league wins is the most since 13 in 2010.
“Eventually, we’re going to have to play strong teams and Alabama is a very strong team and so is Stanford,” said Restrepo. “It will be extremely tough competition. It is going to be very hard to compete with Alabama. They are very well coached.”
All-time, the Sooners are 9-9 in nine NCAA Tournament and 6-6 since Restrepo took the program to its fourth NCAA Tournament in 2006. Oklahoma reached its second Sweet 16 that year, first reached in 1988, and duplicated that feat in 2010. The OU seniors are 3-3 in the postseason and is the last class remaining from the 2010 Sweet 16 squad.
The Sooners went to Palo Alto for the First and Second Rounds in 1997 under head coach Miles Pabst. OU defeated Houston in the First Round that season and were knocked out in a three-set match by the Cardinal. The Sooners have also been to California for the 2009 and 2011 NCAA Tournaments.
“If we happen to move forward, then we’ll have to face Stanford in their place. We have our work cut out for us, but we are looking forward to going west.”
All-time, Oklahoma is 1-3 against Alabama picking up a 3-0 win at home in 2007. The Sooners are 0-5 all-time against Stanford and have never faced Hampton.
Oklahoma is led by five-time Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week and senior middle blocker Sallie McLaurin (Midwest City, Okla.). She averages a team-high 3.76 kills per set and ranks second in the conference at .423 in hitting percentage. On the pins, sophomore Kierra Holst (Coppell, Texas) and senior Keila Rodriguez (Gurabo, Puerto Rico) contribute to the attack with 2.97 and 2.43 kills per set, respectively.
Sophomore Julia Doyle (Plymouth, Minn.) has started all 30 matches at setter this season and averages 9.45 assists per set.
Defensively, sophomore libero Taylor Migliazzo (Kansas City, Mo.) leads the Sooners with 3.95 digs per set followed by Rodriguez at 3.25. McLaurin, who ranks second all-time in OU history with 619 total blocks, leads the way at the net with a 1.34 blocks per set average.
The Third and Fourth Rounds will be played December 13 and 14 with the Final Four set for December 19 and 21 at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington.
In last season’s NCAA Tournament, the Sooners posted a 3-2 win over Arizona State in Provo, Utah. Oklahoma was knocked out in the second round with a 3-0 defeat to host No. 12 BYU.