NORMAN – University of Oklahoma head volleyball coach Lindsey Gray-Walton hit the ground running in her first week on campus and landed transfers Kylee McLaughlin and Keyton Kinley. McLaughlin, a 5-foot-10 setter, enrolled at OU for the spring semester after being named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2017 at Oregon State.
“Championship programs are built on the fundamentals of the game,” began Gray-Walton. “To consistently compete at an elite level, you have to excel at the first two contacts; ball control and setting. Kylee and Keyton both add a dimension of competitiveness and skill that will enhance a solid foundation we already have in place here at Oklahoma. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back into the gym and get to work on making a culture people will love being a part of.”
The awards rolled in for McLaughlin following her rookie season after guiding the Beavers’ offense in a 21-12 season that resulted in a return to the NCAA Tournament following a 12-19 2016 campaign prior to her arrival. She was named the AVCA Pacific North Freshman of the Year and earned a spot on the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team as well as Pac-12 All-Conference Honorable Mention. McLaughlin also pulled in three Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors throughout the season.
“Kylee is elite in what she does, but more importantly how she does it,” said Gray-Walton. “As a student, person and player Kylee has achieved great success thus far and she’ll be the first to tell you she’s not done yet. We are excited to have her join Oklahoma volleyball for the next chapter of this program and her career in the Big 12.”
On the court, McLaughlin dished out 1,294 assists, averaging 10.69 per set. She added 2.58 digs and 0.47 blocks per set. McLaughlin led OSU with 15 double-doubles and was the only Pac-12 player to post a triple-double on the year. She established a career-high in assists at 57 on three occasions; all in Pac-12 play.
McLaughlin played her prep volleyball at Hebron High School in Carrollton, Texas; the same school that produced former Sooner standout Micaela Spann. She was a four-year letter winner and helped Hebron to a pair of Texas State Championships. In 2016, McLaughlin was named the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year and Dallas Morning News Player of the Year. She was also honored as the Texas District 5-6A MVP, an AVCA Under Armour All-America Honorable Mention and a TGCA All-Star. McLaughlin played her club volleyball for Texas Advantage Volleyball in Carrollton, along with current OU middle blocker Paige Anderson, and won back-to-back USA Volleyball Junior National Championships in 2015 and 2016.
Kinley, a 5-foot-6 defensive specialist, spent her freshman season at Tennessee in 2017. She played in 49 sets across 19 matches, including three starts. Kinley averaged 1.39 digs per set and added seven assists and four service aces. Kinley picked up a season-high nine digs at Auburn to go with two aces.
“SEC Battle tested, Keyton is a fierce competitor with a sharp volleyball IQ,” added Gray-Walton. “Her ability to make game-changing defensive floor plays will be showcased by the physicality of the attackers in the Big 12. Her love for the game is contagious to those that play with her and those that watch her.”
Prior to joining the Volunteers for her rookie season, Kinley played at Lafayette Senior High School in Lexington, Ky. She was a two-time team MVP and earned All-American, Senior Ace recognition and Defensive Dandies honors from Prep Volleyball in 2016. Kinley played her club volleyball for the Lexington United.
The Sooners went 7-22 in 2017 and hired Gray-Walton as the fifth coach in program history on Dec. 24, 2017. McLaughlin joins a veteran group of setters consisting of rising seniors Audrey Alford and Morgan Miller in Norman. Oklahoma also returns AVCA All-America Honorable Mention Alyssa Enneking, who averaged 4.20 kills and 2.94 digs per set as a junior.