Volleyball Hosts NIKE Invitational

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

NIKE Invitational
Sept. 10-13 | Norman, Okla. | McCasland Field House
Player to Watch
Madison Ward // RSo. // OH
Ward leads the Sooners with a 3.41 kills per set average and earned All-Tournament honors in Florida two weeks ago.

NORMAN, Okla. – The 2014 Oklahoma volleyball home slate gets started this week with the Sooners annual NIKE Invitational. The four-day, eight-match event gets underway Wednesday night at 7:00 pm when Oklahoma takes on Cal State Northridge at McCasland Field House.

Promotions: Opening night is “Student Appreciation Night” at McCasland with a tumbler cup giveaway for the first 200 students in attendance. Student prizes will be given away during match breaks, FREE sno cones will be served outside and post-match autographs will be available for fans. Thursday night is “Youth Night” and “Sooner Jr. Kids Club Night”. The first 200 students will receive OU volleyball rally towels. Families of up to four are eligible for $4 admission with a child 14 and under. The annual “Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Night” will be Friday. The first 200 students will get OU volleyball tank tops and $4 admission is available for anyone with the ticket to Saturday’s OU football game. Fans with tickets to the football game can also enter to win a football pregame experience. Finally, Saturday will be the first of two “Fan Appreciation Days” with free admission.

On the Air: Each of the first three matches will be broadcast on Sooner Sports TV and can be found on FSSW+ and FCS-Central. Friday’s game will be broadcast on FCS-Pacific. Veteran OU broadcaster Chad McKee and Laura Alford return to call the action. Saturday’s match will be streamed live on SoonerSports.com.

1st Rotation – About the Sooners

Six matches into the season and Oklahoma is 4-2, but fell out of the AVCA Top-25 with a five-set loss at SMU on Saturday night. Redshirt-sophomore outside hitter Madison Ward leads the Sooners with a 3.41 kills per set average and has registered two double-doubles by providing 2.45 kills per set. Junior setter Julia Doyle is leading the way for the OU offense with 10.43 assists per set, while junior libero Taylor Migliazzo leads the back row in digs per set at 3.65. For the season, the Sooners are hitting a collective .278 and holding opponents to a .189 attack rate.

2nd Rotation – Scouting the Field

Cal State Northridge is 5-1 and coming off a NCAA Second Round appearance in 2013. The Matadors are averaging 14.6 kills per set and led by Cieana Stinson (3.77) and Casey Hinger (3.42). Their only loss came to No. 23 Arizona last Saturday. UALR has won five in a row after dropping its first two matches to enter the week at 5-2. Carolee Dillard is the reigning Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week and is averaging 1.57 blocks and 1.96 kills per set. Portland State has struggled to a 1-5 start, but won its last match against Georgia Southern, 3-1. Roni LaPierre leads the Viking attack with 3.00 kills per set. Lamar still seeks its first victory of the season as it enters at 0-6. Setter Ashley Ellis is managing an offense that hits just .209 with 10.48 assists per set.

3rd Rotation – Home Openers

The Sooners hold a 26-14 record all-time in home openers and are 8-2 under Restrepo. Prior to Tuesday’s match-up, Oklahoma had twice fallen to Arkansas in its home opener; 3-0 in 2002 and 3-2 in 2006.

4th Rotation –Against the Field

The Sooners have only faced Cal State Northridge and Portland State once, but have earned a win against each, including a 3-1 win at PSU last season. UALR is Oklahoma’s most common opponent in the field and owns a 7-1 lead in the all-time series. The Sooners currently trail in the all-time series against Lamar, 4-3, and last faced the Cardinals in 2000; a 3-2 win.

5th Rotation – All-Tournament Performers

Ward and Doyle each earned a spot on the Active Ankle Challenge All-Tournament Team at Florida. Ward averaged 4.25 kills per set and notched a double-double against No. 10 Florida (8/30) with 18 kills and 15 digs. At SMU, Doyle picked up her second All-Tournament honor, while Gardiner notched her first.

6th Rotation – Set ‘Em Up

Doyle reached the 40-assist mark in each match on opening weekend, including 47 against Florida (8/30). For her career, she has totaled 40 or more 24 times. Doyle set a season-high with 53 at SMU (9/6).

Bonus – RAH! Rally

On Thursday, September 11, the Oklahoma football team will host the initial RAH! Rally at McCasland Field House, which will begin immediately following OU’s match against UALR. These FREE events will occur on the Thursday of each home Sooner football game and will include free food, giveaways, appearances by member of the football team and spirit squads, as well as other potential surprises.