The Oklahoma volleyball team couldn't have played much worse in Wednesday's 3-0 loss at Kansas State, but against archrival Texas on Saturday, the Sooners put on their best showing of the season.
Oklahoma pulled off a stunning upset of No. 2 Texas on the road, Saturday evening, sweeping the Longhorns (26-24, 26-24, 26-24). The sweep snapped a 34-match home win streak for the Longhorns, whose unblemished record turns to 15-1 overall and 7-1 in the Big 12. For the Sooners, they improved to 15-6 and 6-2.
Oklahoma earned its first win in Austin since 2008 and first win over the Longhorns since 2011. The Sooners have claimed just four wins against Texas all-time; each coming since the arrival of head coach Santiago Restrepo in Norman in 2004.
“The bottom line, is it was crunch time,” Restrepo said of his team's ability to rise to the occasion. “We did very well in crunch time on the road, which has been our problem. Our inconsistencies have been trying to put matches away, but tonight we did. It was awesome to see.”
The sweep was the seventh of the season for Oklahoma and second in Big 12 play.
Oklahoma trailed early in each of the first two sets—trailing by as much as 13-7 in the first and 9-5 in the second—and steadily closed the gap to take the lead and eventually, take each set. In the third, the Sooners led early by as many as three, but the Longhorns took their first lead of the set, 14-13. From there, OU went on a 7-2 run to go up by four. Texas continued to fight back and staved off the decision on the Sooners' first match point. Oklahoma put the match away on a kill by redshirt-sophomore outside hitter Madison Ward.
However, it was junior outside hitter Kierra Holst that was junior setter Julia Doyle's number one option throughout the night. On 44 attempts, Holst knocked down a match-high 16 kills. She has reached double figures in 11 consecutive matches.
“We try to analyze every match and pick around,” Restrepo explained. “The one constant that we found out was that Kierra was playing at an extremely high level. We started Kierra at left-front because she has been so good for so long.”
Ward finished second on the Sooners with nine kills and totaled a match-high 19 digs, marking a new career-high. Doyle dished out 30 assists, picked up four digs and contributed two blocks, a kill and a service ace.
Oklahoma held two-time defending Big 12 Player of the Year Haley Eckerman in check with just 10 kills and a .194 attack rate. Cat McCoy led the Longhorns with 14 digs.
Most impressive for the Sooners was their ability to overcome 13 total blocks by Texas. Molly McCade led all players with seven, while Chiaka Ogbogu added six. For the match, the Longhorns outhit Oklahoma, .230 to .179. The Sooners posted seven total blocks, led by five from freshman middle blocker Marion Hazelwood.
Junior libero Taylor Migliazzo finished second on OU with 13 digs.
The Sooners return to action at home on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. against West Virginia.
- Texas had won 22 straight sets at home dating back to December 6, 2013 when it dropped the third set of a 3-1 win over Texas A&M in the NCAA Second Round.
- Oklahoma ended Texas' 34-match home win streak. The Longhorns went undefeated at home in 2013 (13-0) with their last home loss to Illinois, 3-2, on September 14, 2012.
- Holst has tallied double-digit kills in 11 straight matches.
- Ward posted a career-high 19 digs, besting a 16-dig effort at No. 10 Florida on August 30.
- Oklahoma is 2-3 against ranked opponents this season.
- The win marked only the fourth for OU in the all-time series with Texas.