The Oklahoma volleyball team suffered a 3-0 loss to LSU in the NCAA First Round at Matthew Knight Arena on Thursday evening. The Sooners finished the season at 20-11 overall, while the Tigers move on with a record of 20-9.
Oklahoma was swept behind scores of 25-14, 25-23 and 25-22. The Sooners battled back in both the second and third sets, but ultimately traded points and couldn't bring the set even, allowing LSU to put it away.
“[LSU] played a great match,” OU coach Santiago Restrepo said. “They had us on our heels the whole time. We were coming from behind every single set, but I think our only senior, Kaitlyn Drawe, played some really good defense that got us close in the second and third sets. It became a set where it could bounce either way, but unfortunately the ball bounced [LSU's] way.
Freshman middle blocker Marion Hazelwood impressed in her postseason debut with a team-high 11 kills on a .526 hitting percentage.
“We, as a team, lacked confidence,” offered Hazelwood. “I tried to make up for that. LSU's offense and defense were really great. I thought that establishes our middles would be important so that outsides would have a chance against the block.”
The Tigers' Briana Holman led all players with 13 kills and hit .407 to go with a match-high six blocks. For the match, LSU outhit OU, .248-.119, including attack rates of .417 and .326 in the first two sets.
Oklahoma's outside hitters struggled in the match, with junior Kierra Holst tallying nine kills on an even .000 attack rate. Sophomore Kimmy Gardiner added five kills, but hit -.036. Redshirt-sophomore Madison Ward appeared in her first match since sustaining a concussion in mid-November and provided three kills with a .167 hitting percentage.
Holst's fifth kill on the night moved her into first all-time at OU in single season kills during the 25-point, rally-scoring era. She finished the year with 450; besting Suzy Boulavsky's 445 in 2010.
In support of Holman, Katie Lindelow hit .381 and notched nine kills. Gina Tillis and Cati Leak each added eight.
Junior setter Julia Doyle dished out 29 assists and recorded eight digs with three blocks for the Sooners. Junior libero Taylor Migliazzo led the OU defense with 12 digs, while sophomore middle blocker Micaela Spann posted five blocks; surpassing 200 in her career.
“[LSU] picked up a lot of balls, kept rallies going and just didn't make a lot of mistakes,” Doyle said. “We didn't come out the way we should have. We didn't play our game and they played a good one.”
Malorie Pardo guided LSU with 32 assists, seven digs, three blocks and three kills. Haley Smith led all players with 19 digs.
In her final match for Oklahoma, senior Kaitlyn Drawe totaled seven digs, one assist and one kill.
The 2014 season marked the sixth straight NCAA appearance and fifth straight 20-win season for the Sooners. In 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, Oklahoma has a record of 10-11.