NORMAN, Okla. – The Crimson & Cream Oklahoma Sooners take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the NCAA First Round at 6:30 pm CST at Stanford University’s Maples Pavilion on Thursday evening.
Oklahoma enters its fifth straight NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 23-7 and finished tied for third in the Big 12 at 11-5. The Sooners are led by unanimous All-Big 12 senior middle blocker Sallie McLaurin with 3.76 kills and 1.34 blocks per set to go with a league-best .423 hitting percentage. Senior outside hitter Keila Rodriguez is third on the team at 2.43 kills per set and second at 3.25 digs per set. Sophomore libero Taylor Migliazzo sets the tone defensively with a 3.95 digs per set average.
1. Senior Class
The Oklahoma volleyball class of 2014 has amassed an 89-41 record and 42-26 mark in the Big 12, while reaching the NCAA Tournament in each of their four seasons, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2010. They are the winningest class at Oklahoma since 1982.
2. Not Up In Here!
McLaurin took over the top spot in the OU record book for career block assists on at Iowa State on November 9 with the 500th of her career. She has lifted her record total to 517. McLaurin currently ranks second all-time in total blocks with 620 behind Margaret Page (1983-87) at 640 after passing Gloria Holcomb’s (1990-93) 613 last Saturday. Her 620 total blocks also rank third all-time in the Big 12.
3. All-Big 12 Honors
McLaurin was named a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection by the league’s coaches. She is a three-time First Team member and winner of the 2010 Rookie of the Year and 2011 Defensive Player of the Year. Rodriguez earned Honorable Mention, while redshirt-freshman Madison Ward was selected to the All-Freshmen Team.
4. Regular Season Finale
Oklahoma hit a collective .341 in a 3-1 upset of No. 21 Kansas at McCasland Field House on Saturday night. The team hitting percentage marked a new team record in the rally-scoring era. The overall record is .410 set in 1999 against Wichita State. The Sooners dropped the first set, 16-25, but won each of the next three; 25-17, 25-19, 25-16. Oklahoma hit .345 in the second and .500 in the third. For the match, Sallie McLaurin paced OU with 14 kills and a .343 hitting percentage to go with a match-high seven blocks. Keila Rodriguez and sophomore outside hitter Kierra Holst also reached double figures with 13 and 12, respectively. Rodriguez hit .423 and added 10 digs for her team-leading 10th double-double of the season.
5. Against the Ranked
The Sooners are 3-3 against ranked opponents this season. Oklahoma registered wins over No. 25 BYU (9/7), No. 25 Iowa State (10/5) and No. 21 Kansas (11/30). The Sooners fell twice to Texas (No. 5, 9/28; No. 1, 11/2). Most recently, Oklahoma lost at No. 25 Iowa State (11/9) in three sets. At home this season, the Sooners went 2-1 against ranked opponents.
6. 20-Spot in the Win Column
Oklahoma picked up its 20th win of the season, a 3-0 victory over Baylor, on November 16 to mark the 17th 20-win season in the program’s 40-year history and sixth under head coach Santiago Restrepo. The Sooners have won 20 or more in a season in each of the last four seasons and six of the last eight. The program record for wins was set in 1979 when OU won 50 matches in a 74-match schedule under Miles Pabst. Since Restrepo took over in 2004, the Sooners’ record is 28 in 2006. Oklahoma’s 23 wins this season are tied for the second most in the Restrepo era.
7. Tackling the Top 10
In Oklahoma’s sweep over Baylor on October 19, McLaurin moved into the top 10 in kills all-time at Oklahoma. In that match she passed Page and Trenell Carter (1984-87), who had 1,170 and 1,171, respectively. McLaurin’s 1,323 currently ranks her eighth. She trails former teammate Suzy Boulavsky (2008-11) by eight for seventh.
8. 10 Times in the Tourney
The Sooners are 9-9 all-time in the NCAA Tournament as they enter the 10th in program history. Oklahoma made its first trip to the NCAAs in 1987 and has made seven appearances since 2006 under head coach Santiago Restrepo. The Sooners have been as far as the Sweet 16 three times (1988, 2006, 2010).
9. Last Time They Met
Oklahoma cruised to the tournament title at its own NIKE Invitational in 2007 as the No. 22 Sooners swept Alabama; 32-20, 30-17, 30-17 in the finale. Sarah Weiland and Mariana Blum led OU with 12 kills, while Anna Stadel added 10 on a match-high .600 attack rate. The Crimson Tide was led by Brooks Webster with nine kills. Blum added 16 digs for a double-double, while Bridget Laplante also posted a double-double with a 10-kill, 16-dig effort.
10. All-Time vs. Bama
Alabama leads the all-time series against Oklahoma, 3-1. The Crimson Tide took the first three matches of the series by scores of 2-0, 2-0 and 3-0. The two teams first met in Tuscaloosa on September 21, 1979. They met again on October 5, 1979 on a neutral floor in Orlando, Fla.
11. Against the SEC
After a 3-0 win over Arkansas on September 3, Oklahoma has won three in a row against SEC opponents to improve to 17-19 all-time against the league and 7-4 with Restrepo calling the shots. The Sooners lead the all-time series with Arkansas, 4-3, their most common opponent out of the SEC. Alabama won both of its matches against the Razorbacks in four sets this season.
12. On the Other Side
The No. 7 overall seed and No. 3-ranked Stanford (24-5) hosts all of the action this weekend and takes on Hampton (19-10) in the nightcap on Thursday at 9:00 pm. The winner meets the winner of Oklahoma/Alabama at 9:00 pm on Friday, December 6. The Sooners are 0-5 all-time against Stanford and have never faced Hampton.
13. 2012 NCAA First/Second Round
Oklahoma overcame a first-set setback to take a 3-2 win over Arizona State in the First Round in Provo, Utah. Morgan Reynolds led all players with 21 kills, while McLaurin hit .353 with 15 kills. In the Second Round, the Sooners were bounced by No. 12 BYU in straight sets. Tara Dunn led the OU attack with 10 kills.