The Oklahoma volleyball team came from behind early and often in a 3-1 win over Kansas State at McCasland Field House on Wednesday night. The Sooners reached the 20-win mark for the fifth straight season as it improved to 20-9 overall and 10-5 in the Big 12.
Oklahoma was unable to close out the first set after leading 23-20 and lost the set as the Wildcats (22-7, 9-6) rattled off a 6-1 run to claim the set, 26-24. In the second, the Sooners fell behind early, 6-1, and came back to even the match, 26-24.
“I'm extremely proud of the team,” said coach Santiago Restrepo. “We have had a lot of battles against some very strong teams in our conference. For us, responding to the challenge, is getting back in the race for second. I'm especially proud of our team, our players and our senior.”
OU called a timeout at 19-19 in the third set and went on a 6-0 run to finish off the frame, led by a pair of kills from junior outside hitter Kierra Holst. For the match, Holst led all players with 19 kills. In the fourth, the Sooners had to fight back from deficits of 14-8 and 17-12.
In the first set, Holst moved into third in program history in kills in a single season during the 25-point, rally-scoring era. She sits at 423, 22 back of Suzy Boulavsky (2010) for the record.
The win secured at least a tie for second place in the Big 12 with Kansas. The two teams meet up for the regular season finale Saturday at noon in Lawrence, Kan.
Both teams hit below .200 as Oklahoma hit a collective .193 to Kansas State's .149. The Wildcats were dominant at the net with 18.5 blocks, but the Sooners answered with 12; a season-high in a four-set match. Natali Jones, who hit -.174 for K-State, led all players with 10 blocks, while teammate Chelsea Keating added eight along with a team-high 12 kills.
“[Kansas State] is a very well coached team,” Restrepo said. “They're extremely tough to put a ball away against, because they have very good blocking.”
For Oklahoma, sophomores Kimmy Gardiner and Micaela Spann finished second on the team with 11 kills. Gardiner added a season-high 15 digs for her third double-double of the season, while Spann chipped in with a team-high five blocks.
Junior setter Julia Doyle dished out 47 assists and picked up seven digs, three kills and three blocks. Junior libero Taylor Migliazzo led the Sooners with 19 digs.
Doyle passed Carolyn Kittell (1998-00) for sixth all-time in assists as she has now totaled 3,702 in three seasons.
After the match, Oklahoma honored its lone senior Kaitlyn Drawe, who chipped into the OU effort with six digs and three assists in her final home match.