Sooners Split Saturday Slate
ORANGE, N.J. — The Oklahoma volleyball team split its final day of matches at the Seton Hall Classic on Saturday, falling 3-1 VCU before taking down Seton Hall 3-0.
The Sooners moved to 4-2 on the season after going 1-2 at the tournament. Senior outside hitter Alyssa Enneking and sophomore outside hitter Sarah Sanders were both named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Sooners dropped a hard-fought contest with VCU in the afternoon, winning the second set (25-18) but falling in sets one, three and four (25-22, 27-25, 25-20).
Enneking finished the first match with 27 kills, breaking her own program record for kills in a four-set match. She added 10 digs to earn her third double-double of the season.
Sophomore setter Kylee McLaughlin also registered a double-double in the contest, posting a season-high 47 assists to go with 13 digs to mark her fourth straight double-double. Classmate Keyton Kinley matched a career high with 22 digs against the Rams.
The match saw a competitive start as the first set included 14 ties and four lead changes. The Sooners built a 14-11 lead, but VCU responded to tie the set at 15-15. The two teams traded points before the Rams scored twice to take a lead at 20-19. A kill by Sanders tied the set at 20, but the Rams closed it out on a 5-2 run.
The second set also began 5-5 before a 4-1 run from the Sooners. Although the Rams cut the Sooners lead to one at 11-10, OU built a 19-11 lead on an 8-1 run that included an ace from Kinley and kills from Sanders and Enneking.
OU head coach Lindsey Gray-Walton used a timeout when the Rams brought the set to 22-18. The Sooners scored the next three out of the break on a VCU error, an Enneking kill and an Anderson and Sanders block assist to even the match at 1-1.
The Rams went back in front with a 27-25 victory in set three. Trailing 23-19, the Sooners used a 4-0 run to knot the frame at 23. The Rams earned set points at 24-23 and 25-24, but in both instances, kills from Enneking kept the Sooners alive. However, back-to-back kills closed out the set for the Rams.
In the final frame, VCU took an early lead at 5-2 and carried it throughout the set. The Sooners got within a point at 8-7 following two Enneking kills and a Kadiku ace, but the Rams bounced back and grew their advantage to 20-13. Although the Sooners rallied and got as close as three points, VCU sealed the win with a pair of kills.
The Sooners bounced back in the night cap, sweeping Seton Hall 25-22, 25-10, 25-20.
“It was good to see,” Gray-Walton said of her team’s win. “Three matches in a weekend is a long weekend, so to have that type of energy and to be able to execute consistently throughout the three sets was impressive tonight. My challenge to them was to bring it every time. I think that’s our added advantage: our belief, our moxie.
“It was exciting to see, even with some rotation switches and some people in different places, everyone be able to perform and respond, and we came away with the win,” Gray-Walton continued. “Seton Hall’s a great team, and it’ll pay dividends in three and a half months. Defensively, they made us work and put a great effort on the floor out there, and that team’s going to win a lot of matches. I’m excited that we got better to night because they made us better.”
OU out-hit the Pirates, totaling a .281 hitting percentage to SHU’s .085 and registering 46 kills to its opponent’s 30. The Sooners also had more digs by a 59-54 mark and more assists by a 43-30 clip.
Enneking led the match with 14 kills and added 13 digs for her second double-double of the day. She has now reached at least a dozen kills in all six games this season. Sanders also reached double-digit kills, setting a career high with 12.
McLaughlin paced all players with 37 assists and Kinley led the Sooners with 22 digs.
After the Sooners opened the first set with a 10-6 lead, the Pirates closed the gap to make it 12-11 for OU. A solo block from Paige Anderson followed by a block assist from Kadiku and Sarah Maras rebuilt the Sooners’ lead, but a series of errors on both sides of the net made it a 17-15 in the Sooners’ favor.
Consecutive kills from Sanders and Enneking forced a Seton Hall timeout. The Pirates won four of the next six serves out of the break, causing Gray-Walton to call time. Seton Hall tied the match at 22-22 with three more points after the timeout, but the Sooners closed the set out with a kill from Enneking and back-to-back service aces by Morgan Miller.
The Sooners carried their momentum into the second set, opening the frame with a 6-2 lead. After the Pirates made it an 8-5 contest, Oklahoma went on a 6-0 run. In that span, Enneking tallied two kills while Kadiku and Anderson both tallied one.
The Pirates scored two of the next three to bring the set to 15-7. The Sooners then went on a 9-0 run that included two kills by Anderson, one kill by Sanders and McLaughlin and an ace by Enneking, earning set point at 24-7. Seton Hall scored three straight but couldn’t make a large enough impact on the Sooners’ lead as another Anderson kill sealed OU’s 25-10 win.
Ten points are the fewest the Sooners have allowed in a set, excluding fifth sets, since allowing 10 against Arkansas Pine-Bluff in 2016.
OU jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the third set, but the Pirates closed in to make it 5-4 before taking the lead at 8-7. The Sooners then went on a 6-1 run that included two kills from Enneking, one kill from Kinley and Kadiku and an ace by Kadiku.
After the Pirates scored twice and committed two errors, back-to-back kills by Miller and McLaughlin grew OU’s advantage to 18-12. The Pirates cut back into the lead to make it a 20-17 game, but the Sooners scored the next four to earn set point. Seton Hall scored three more, a kill from Kadiku clinched the Sooners’ sweep.
Up next, the Sooners conclude their season-opening road swing next weekend as they compete at the Colorado Invitational Friday-Saturday in Boulder, Colo.