Sept. 2, 2012
Fort Collins, Colo. -- The University of Oklahoma volleyball team (5-2, 0-0 Big 12) put up a fight against its first ranked opponent of the year - No. 24 Colorado State - to conclude an arduous weekend that saw it face four different opponents in just a matter of three days. The Sooners evened the match at 1-1 following the second set, until the Bears took over and defeated Oklahoma in four sets, 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-19, 16-25).
The Sooners were led by sophomore outside hitter, Tara Dunn, who notched 14 kills off of 24 swings for a .265 hitting percentage and junior middle blocker, Sallie McLaurin, who matched a personal-best four solo blocks against the Rams; a feat she hadn't accomplished in nearly two years when OU faced Missouri on Oct. 10, 2010.
McLaurin totaled nine overall blocks, and registered 12 kills to hit .471 with just one error against Colorado State.
It was another career moment for senior Maria Fernanda as the defensive specialist took sole possession of the sixth-place spot in the Big 12 record book with 1,769 career digs. Oklahoma's back row defense was anchored by both Fernanda and junior Eden Williams who registered 14 and 13 digs, respectively.
Freshman Julia Doyle inked another impressive performance for the Crimson and Cream, posting her second double-double in as many days with 37 assists and 12 digs, as the Minnesota native totaled 43 assists and 10 digs in yesterday's 3-0 win over North Dakota State. It is the fourth double-double performance of her young, seven-game career with the Sooners.
Teammate Keila Rodriguez followed suit and notched another double-double performance for OU with 12 digs and 12 assists on the day. The junior outside-hitter also contributed a team-leading two service aces and 16.0 points
Oklahoma carried the first-set lead until Colorado State went on a 6-0 scoring run to tie it up at 13-13. From the tie score, a back-and-forth battle ensued between the Sooners and Rams, which saw two more tie scores and an eventual OU breakaway off a sequence that featured a successful Dunn attack, and CSU attack error for a 20-17 score in favor of the Crimson and Cream.
History has a way of repeating itself, and it did just that in favor of Colorado State, as another 6-0 scoring run boosted the Rams ahead of the Sooners at 22-21. With the added pressure, outside hitters Morgan Reynolds and Rodriguez scored on back-to-back kills from Doyle to pit the set, 23-23 all, in the closing minutes. Despite the duo's efforts, a kill from CSU's Dana Cranston, followed by a successful block by Megan Plourde clinched the set for the Rams at 23-25.
Rodriguez paced the Sooners to begin the second set after she notched a block, kill and service ace to put Oklahoma ahead early, 8-5. The Rams followed Rodriguez's ace with a 4-0 run to hold a one-point advantage at 9-8. It was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams that saw three tie scores until the Sooners claimed a sequence of 4-0 runs to go up 22-15. OU wouldn't drop the lead the remainder of the set, as McLaurins third solo block clinched the Sooners the second set victory, 25-21.
Colorado State jumped out to an early 5-1 lead to start the third stanza, until a successful attack from freshman outside hitter Kierra Holst registered the first Sooner kill of the set to cut the deficit at 5-3. Both Dunn and Rodriguez put OU within one point of CSU at 12-11 and 13-12, but it was the closest the Sooners would get to taking control the set. Colorado State took the lead early and never lost momentum as they closed-out the set on a 3-0 scoring run, 25-19.
The Rams carried the momentum over from the third set, and took an early lead in the fourth with a 9-1 scoring run. Oklahoma was never able to recover, as Colorado State controlled the score the remainder of the set. Back-to-back kills from freshmen Doyle and Holst put OU at 22-15 - its smallest deficit of the set, but it wasn't enough to recover as Deedra Foss sealed the match for the Rams at 25-16.
Next up for the Sooners is a trip to Fayetteville, Ark., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, as Oklahoma continues an eight-game road stand. First serve is set for 7 p.m. CT.
For all the latest information on Oklahoma volleyball, please log on to www.SoonerSports.com or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow Oklahoma volleyball on Twitter at @SoonersVB (https://twitter.com/SoonersVB).