KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Senior middle blocker Sallie McLaurin (Midwest City, Okla.) was named Tournament MVP as the University of Oklahoma volleyball team rolled to its third straight victory at the Holiday Inn West Invitational, hosted by Western Michigan, Saturday evening. The Sooners improved to 3-0 on the year with a 3-0 sweep of the host Broncos (2-1).
Oklahoma will be back in action on Tuesday night when it hosts Arkansas at McCasland Field House at 7:00 pm.
McLaurin led the attack for OU in the weekend finale with a team-high 12 kills. For the weekend she averaged 4.10 kills per set and hit .456 with 11 blocks. McLaurin now has 954 kills in her career.
The Sooners lost just one set all weekend as they dispatched WMU 25-20, 25-19 and 25-21.
Sophomore outside hitter Kierra Holst (Coppell, Texas) recorded 10 kills for Oklahoma, while Western Michigan's Stephanee Yancy led all players with 18.
For the second straight match, seniors Keila Rodriguez (Gurabo, Puerto Rico) and Eden Williams (Amarillo, Texas) both notched double-digit digs with 16 and 12, respectively.
As a team, the Sooners hit .295 for the match, while holding the Broncos to a .164 hitting percentage.
Sophomore setter Julia Doyle (Plymouth, Minn.) picked up 28 assists on her way to an All-Tournament Team honor. She averaged 9.6 assists per set on the weekend. Joining McLaurin and Doyle on the All-Tournament Team was Holst, who averaged 3.00 kills per set and hit .264.
---Match One Recap---
The University of Oklahoma volleyball team picked up a 3-1 win over Northwestern at the Holiday Inn West Invitational, hosted by Western Michigan, Saturday morning. The Sooners improved to 2-0 on the young season and continue tournament play Saturday night against the host Broncos at 6:00 pm.
The first set was back-and-forth, but was ultimately won by Oklahoma, 26-24. The Sooners faced set-point when Stephanie Holthus connected for a kill to put the Wildcats up, 24-22. OU tied the score at 24 with a kill from sophomore setter Julia Doyle (Plymouth, Minn.), took the lead on a kill by senior middle blocker Sallie McLaurin (Midwest City, Okla.) and went on to win the set on a NU attack error.
The Sooners took the second set, 25-19, hitting a collective .375 behind five kills from sophomore outside hitter Kierra Holst (Coppell, Texas).
Northwestern bounced back to win the third, 25-17, before Oklahoma closed out the match with a 25-21 win in the fourth.
“We responded very well to the pressure [Northwestern] applied in the third set,” said Head Coach Santiago Restrepo. “We gave away too many errors, but we really concentrated on the fourth set and came through, making only two errors. It was good to see us answer a challenge against a good Big Ten opponent.”
McLaurin led the Sooners with 12 kills and hit .440 to go with five blocks. After recording double-digit kills in in back-to-back matches, she now has 942 career kills. Holst finished second on the squad with 11 kills.
Stephanie Holthus led the way for the Wildcats with a match-best 18 kills, while teammate Caroline Niedospial recorded a match-best 23 digs.
Seniors Eden Williams (Amarillo, Texas) and Keila Rodriguez (Gurabo, Puerto Rico) both reached double figures in digs for OU with 22 and 12, respectively.
Doyle commanded the Sooner offense and dished out 38 assists, tallied nine digs and six kills, while hitting .750.
Oklahoma is now 18-17-2 all-time against Big Ten teams and 3-3 under Restrepo. The Sooners lone match-up against Northwestern, prior to Saturday, was a 3-0 loss on September 19, 1999. OU last defeated a Big Ten opponent in the 2008 season opener, a 3-1 victory over Michigan State.
“Usually, the Pac-12, Big Ten and Big 12’s RPIs are one, two and three throughout the year,” continued Restrepo. “Obviously, [Northwestern] is a team that is going to be playing against some very good teams, beating some good teams, and that’s going to help us in the RPI, because our conferences are so equal it helps us get a little one-up on them.”