Sooners Rally Past Razorbacks

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
SEPTEMBER 04, 2012

(6-2, 0-0)
  1 2 3 4 5 F
Oklahoma 25 18 27 25 - 3
Arkansas. 19 25 25 18 - 1
Box Score

(6-2, 0-0)
 Team Statistics
 Individual Leaders
 Stat  Oklahoma  Arkansas
 Kills Reynolds (13) Norton (19)
 Hitting % Holst (.367) Heckelman (.450)
 Assists Doyle (42) Santos (43)
 Digs Fernanda (23) Helm (14)
 Blocks McLaurin (8) Heckelman (5)
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Fayetteville, Ark. -- The University of Oklahoma volleyball team improved to 6-2 on the year after it rallied on numerous different occasions to take a four-set victory (25-19, 18-25, 27-25, 25-18) over Arkansas, Tuesday night, at Barnhill Arena.

Three Sooners combined to match a four-set OU match record with eight service aces. Sophomore Tara Dunn and Doyle each contributed three a piece – a career high for Dunn, a sophomore outside hitter – while junior Kiela Rodriguez added a pair of service aces to her name Tuesday night.

Individually, the Sooners were led by senior Morgan Reynolds and junior Sallie McLaurin who recorded 13 and 11 kills, respectively, on the night. The duo was also joined by defensive specialist Maria Fernanda who totaled a season-best 23 digs for the third 20-plus dig performance of her senior campaign.

McLaurin connected on 11 of her 22 swings with three errors for a .364 hitting percentage. The junior middle blocker also added a team-high eight blocks with one solo and seven block assists, to lead the Sooners in the category for the seventh consecutive game this season.

Freshman Kiera Holst notched a team-high .367 hitting percentage, successfully striking 12 of her 30 attempts with just one error. It marks the second consecutive match that the freshman outside hitter has led the Sooners with a team-best hitting efficiency.

Holst was followed by fellow freshman teammate Julia Doyle who totaled 42 of Oklahoma’s 45 assists to collect the fourth 40-plus assist performance in her seven-game career in the Crimson and Cream.

The first set was a back-and-forth battle in the beginning as the Sooners jumped to an early 1-0 lead, and was matched point after point by the Razorbacks at 2-2. The patterned played out as both teams continued to trade points, and the match was still tied at 11-11. The Sooners finally pulled away at 11-13 thanks to an attack error from off Arkansas’ Kasey Heckelman. From there, the Sooners never looked back, as they held the lead and sealed the first set victory, 25-19.  

The momentum shifted in the second stanza, as Arkansas jumped out with an early 5-3 lead. OU battled, tying the set at 6-6 and shortly after at 7-7 until Arkansas broke away, 13-7, on a 6-0 scoring run. The Sooners attempted to close the gap with three-straight points late in the set, but it wasn’t enough as the Razorbacks evened the match at 1-1 with a 25-18 performance.

The third set appeared to be a similar story as Arkansas grabbed a 10-5 lead. The Sooners closely trailed their opponent for the majority of the set until a 4-0 scoring run, thanks to a kill from both Reynolds and Dunn, paired with a Doyle ace, tied it up at 20-20.

Both teams traded quick points in the closing minutes in an attempt to grab the third set victory and lead the match 2-1. A string of attack errors from Arkansas benefited the Sooners and put them up 25-24, to give them the opportunity to take set point. Rodriguez capitalized with a successful hit to lead OU to the third set victory, 27-25.

While Arkansas carried the momentum early in previous sets, it was OU who leaped ahead in the fourth and final stanza of Tuesday’s match with an early 10-4 lead to set the tone. The Razorbacks pulled together a three-point scoring run that looked to put them in reach at 8-12, but couldn’t contain the Sooners who immediately followed with four unanswered points to lift the score, and double their lead at 16-8.

The rest was history as Oklahoma failed to back down in the final minutes of the match. In fitting fashion, Doyle closed it with her third and final ace to secure both the set and match victory, 25-18.

Next up for the Sooners is the Ameritas Player Invitational in Lincoln, Neb. Thursday through Saturday. Oklahoma will first face No. 1 Nebraska Thursday evening at 6 p.m., followed by a Friday showdown against No. 19 Kentucky at 6 p.m. and finally close the Invitational with a Saturday matinee match against Duquesne at 1:30 p.m.

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