OU Battles in Five-Set Loss to UNC
BOULDER, Colo. – Competing in its first five-set match of the season, the Oklahoma volleyball team narrowly fell 3-2 to North Carolina on Friday afternoon in the Buffs Invitational.
After dropping the first set 26-24, the Sooners (4-3) took set two 25-20 and set three 25-21. However, the Tarheels claimed the final two sets, 25-16 and 17-15, to move to 3-3 on the year.
Sophomore setter Kylee McLaughlin set a career high with 60 assists in the match, leading all players. She added a season-high five kills. Classmate outside hitter Sarah Sanders also had a career night with 13 kills.
Senior outside hitter Alyssa Enneking led the Sooners with 23 kills and nine digs. Junior middle blocker Brianna Kadiku also reached double-digit kills with 11 and added a match-high six blocks.
After the Sooners jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the first set, the Tarheels got within two at 8-6, but the Sooners went on a 4-0 run to force a UNC timeout. However, the Tarheels came back to tie the set at 18-18. After an OU timeout, the Sooners scored three unanswered to cause another Tarheel timeout. The Sooners earned set point at 24-23, but UNC closed the frame on a 3-0 run to clinch the first set.
The second set proved competitive, featuring eight ties and six lead changes within the first half of the set. Trailing 12-11, the Sooners went on a six-point run to establish a 17-12 advantage. During that span, Enneking tallied two kills while McLaughlin added one. The Sooners carried their lead throughout the rest of the frame, evening the match at 1-1 on back-to-back kills by Sarah Maras and Kadiku.
The two teams opened the third frame exchanging points. The Sooners held a 10-9 lead before going on a 7-2 run. Kadiku was dominant in that span, registering three block assists and two kills.
After the Sooners built a 20-14 lead, the Tarheels used a 6-2 run to get within two points. Oklahoma used a timeout, and following a setter kill by McLaughlin out of the break, North Carolina called a timeout of its own. The Sooners forced a bad set and used a kill by Enneking to seal the set victory.
The fourth set also saw a competitive start as the Sooners took a narrow 6-5 lead. However, the Tarheels scored on seven of the next nine serves to take a 12-8 lead and force a Sooner timeout. UNC used a timeout with a 15-12 advantage and went 4-1 out of the break to lead to another OU timeout. The Tarheels carried their lead throughout the remainder of the set to even the match at 2-2 and send OU to its first fifth-set match of the season.
After the fifth set opened in a 4-4 tie, the Tarheels used a 3-0 run before a Sooner timeout. Oklahoma went 3-1 out of the break to get within one, but another three-point run by the Tarheels gave UNC an 11-7 advantage. The Sooners once again took a timeout and went 6-1 on the next seven serves to take a 13-12 lead. The Sooners earned a pair of match points at 14-13 and 15-14, but the Tarheels scored three straight to claim the match.
The Sooners conclude the Buffs Invitiational on Saturday with a pair of matches, taking on Georgia at 1 p.m. CT and No. 24 Colorado at 8 p.m. CT. Live stats for both contests will be available via CUBuffs.com, and the evening match will be broadcast through the Pac-12 Colorado Live Stream.