Sooners Head East for Seton Hall Classic
Aug. 31-Sept. 1 | Orange, N.J. | Walsh Gymnasium
NORMAN — The Oklahoma volleyball team continues its season-opening road swing this weekend as it travels to Orange, N.J., for the Seton Hall Classic. The Sooners open the event against No. 14 Pittsburgh on Friday at 3:30 p.m. CT, marking their first match against a ranked opponent this season. On Saturday, OU will take on VCU at noon CT and Seton Hall at 6 p.m. CT.
Saturday’s match against Seton Hall will be streamed for free through the Pirate Sports Network. Live stats for all three of OU’s contests at the tournament will be available on SHUPirates.com, and fans can follow along on Twitter (@OU_Volleyball) for live updates.
Sooners Claim NIU Invitational Title
Oklahoma opened its 2018 campaign by winning the NIU Invitational Tournament Championship, going undefeated at the event Aug. 24-25 in DeKalb, Ill. The Sooners earned a pair of sweeps against Xavier (25-22, 26-24, 25-20) and DePaul (25-13, 25-15, 25-12) before taking down Northern Illinois on its home court 3-1 (25-19, 17-25, 25-15, 25-20).
In the weekend opener against the Musketeers, senior outside hitter Alyssa Enneking matched her own school record with 19 kills in a three-set match, hitting .432 in the contest. She added 13 digs to register her 25th career double-double.
Against DePaul, the Sooners hit .404, including a .531 performance in the second set, while holding the Blue Demons to a .085 showing. OU almost doubled DePaul’s kill total by a 44-23 mark. Sophomore setter Kylee McLaughlin got the Sooners off to a hot start, opening the match with three straight service aces. She earned her first double-double in the Crimson and Cream with 34 assists and 10 digs in the contest.
The Sooners clinched the tournament title with their first road win of the season. Enneking (15 digs, 14 kills) and McLaughlin (45 assists, 11 digs) both registered their second double-doubles of the weekend against the Huskies.
Three Named to All-Tournament Team
Alyssa Enneking was named the Tournament MVP, finishing the weekend with a .267 hitting percentage and averaging 4.70 kills per set. Joining Enneking on the All-Tournament Team were McLaughlin and sophomore outside hitter Sarah Maras. McLaughlin averaged 12.1 assists per set and 2.80 digs per set at the tournament, and Maras hit .231 with a 3.00 kills per set average and tallied six service aces throughout the weekend.
VCU opened its 2018 season with a pair of losses at the N.C State Invitational Aug. 24-25, falling to N.C State 3-2 before being swept by Washington State. The Rams then dropped a 3-2 contest to Wichita State on Aug. 27.
Last year, the Rams went 30-3 with a 14-0 record in A-10 play to clinch the 2017 conference title. Named the preseason favorite in the A-10 Preseason Coaches Poll, VCU returns five starters and 10 letterwinners for 2018, including All-East Region selection Tori Baldwin and All-Atlantic 10 honoree Vicky Giommarini.
Xavier went 13-19 in 2017, including an 8-10 mark in Big East play to finish sixth in league standings. The Musketeers were 2-2 in neutral site contests last year. This season, the Musketeers were picked to finish tied for sixth in the preseason Big East poll.
Nine Xavier letterwinners return for the 2018 campaign, including five seniors. Senior Meredith Klare led the Big East in total digs (520) and digs per set (4.37) in 2017, and classmate Laura Grossman led the Musketeers in total kills (233) last year.
Previewing Seton Hall
Seton Hall opened the 2018 season with a 2-1 performance at the Blue and White Classic. After defeating North Dakota State 3-1, the Pirates dropped a 3-1 match to host school Buffalo. SHU closed out the weekend with a 3-0 sweep of Niagara.
The Pirates went 16-15 in 2017, including a 10-8 record in Big East contests. SHU returns 10 letterwinners and four starters for this year. Senior Abby Thelen was named to the Preseason All-Big East team.
The Sooners wrap up their season-opening road swing Sept. 7-8 as they travel to Boulder, Colo., for the Colorado Invitational. OU will face North Carolina at 4 p.m. CT on Friday and Georgia (1 p.m. CT) and Colorado (8 p.m. CT) on Saturday.