NORMAN, Okla. – University of Oklahoma head volleyball coach Santiago Restrepo has released his team’s 2014 schedule, which features 12 home matches at McCasland Field House. The Sooners’ schedule gets underway with a three-match tournament at the University of Florida on August 29 and 30.
Oklahoma hits the road for a pair of early-season tournament in Florida and Texas before hosting its annual NIKE Invitational, September 10-13. The Sooners then travel to North Carolina for three non-conference matches at Atlantic Coast Conference schools before entering Big 12 Conference play.
“The bottom line is that we’re going to have new people coming in and I wanted to play a very strong schedule with the purpose of having [our student-athletes] understand that we’re going to compete very hard and have extremely tough competition from day one,” stated Restrepo. “I want them to realize that from the get-go, it is going to be extremely tough to compete and be successful at OU.”
In Florida, Oklahoma opens the season against Idaho in the first of two matches on August 29 followed by an evening match with Georgia Southern, who competed in the NCAA Tournament in 2013. The Sooners take on the host Gators on August 30 in a match-up of teams that reached the NCAA Tournament Second Round a year ago.
Overall, the Oklahoma regular season schedule stretches 29 matches and features 11 matches against eight different teams that appeared in the 2013 NCAA Tournament field.
The Sooners take a trip down I-35 for three matches at the SMU Tournament, September 5 and 6 before hosting their home invitational.
The action gets underway against Cal State Northridge in the home opener at 7:00 pm on September 10. Like Oklahoma, the Matadors made the NCAA Second Round in 2013. The weekend continues with matches against Arkansas-Little Rock (Sept. 11), Portland State (Sept. 12) and Lamar (Sept. 13).
“Cal State Northridge was a top-25 team at one point last season,” said Restrepo. “They are extremely well coached and have very talented players. That’s going to be an awesome match right away. Arkansas-Little Rock is always a good match for us and we went to Portland State last season. PSU and UALR are very well coached teams and have strong athletes. Then we will finish against Lamar. It will be a strong field to host in our home tournament.
“After that, we’ll play an ACC-type schedule the following weekend. Obviously, UNC and Duke are ranked regularly, so we’ll have our work cut out for us.”
The non-conference portion of the schedule wraps up with road matches at Wake Forest (Sept. 18), North Carolina (Sept. 19) and Duke (Sept. 20). The Tar Heels were knocked out in the first round of last year’s tournament, while the Blue Devils reached the second.
The conference slate begins with a home match against Kansas on September 27 at 7:00 pm. Last season, the Sooners and Jayhawks split the season series with each team winning at home. Kansas appeared in the Sweet 16 in 2013. Iowa State and Texas round out the participants from last year’s postseason on OU’s schedule. The Cyclones, who were knocked out in the first round, visit Norman on November 12 followed by the Longhorns, a Final Four participant, on November 15.
The remaining home dates are against TCU (Oct. 1), Texas (Oct. 15), Baylor (Oct. 18), West Virginia (Nov. 1) and Kansas State (Nov. 26).