The Big 12 volleyball coaches have voted the Oklahoma Sooners fourth in the preseason poll that was released by the conference on Friday afternoon. Oklahoma was picked fifth in 2013 and finished tied for third with an 11-5 Big 12 record.
Overall, the Sooners posted a 24-8 record in 2013 and finished with a second round appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
On Thursday, Oklahoma opened its season with the first official practice of 2014. Head coach Santiago Restrepo remains at the helm for his 11th season as the Sooners aim to make a record sixth straight NCAA postseason appearance. This year's Final Four will take place in OU's backyard at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.
Defending champion Texas was a unanimous top pick in the preseason poll.
Two juniors from the University of Oklahoma volleyball team have been voted to the All-Big 12 Preseason Team, which was released by the Conference on Thursday afternoon. Setter Julia Doyle was a unanimous selection, while outside hitter Kierra Holst earned her second straight preseason honor.
As a sophomore, the 6-foot-2 Doyle helped guide the Sooners to a 24-8 record and second round appearance in a fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament. She started all 32 matches at setter and averaged 9.49 assists per set, while totaling 1,101 on the season. Doyle won the starting setter position as a freshman in 2012 and has eclipsed 1,000 assists in each season. This past summer, she participated with the Team USA Collegiate National Team.
Coming off a summer spent with Team USA CNT in 2013, Holst earned her first preseason nod from the Big 12 coaches. This season, it comes after the 6-foot-4 Holst made the transition from middle blocker to outside hitter a year ago. In her second season with the Sooners, she was second on the team with 2.98 kills per set, while hitting .221. At the net she contributed to a defense that averaged 2.58 blocks per set by averaging 0.49.
Reigning Big 12 Player of the Year, Haley Eckerman, a senior outside hitter from Texas, was named the Preseason Player of the Year for the second straight season. Kansas setter Ainise Havili was tabbed as the Preseason Freshman of the Year.
Oklahoma's preseason got started with the first official day of practice on Thursday morning. The Sooners first match of the season is against Idaho at the University of Florida Invitational on August 29. Oklahoma's home portion of the slate opens with a four-game homestand as it hosts the NIKE Invitational, September 10-13. The home opener is set for September 10 against Cal State Northridge. Big 12 play gets underway on September 27 against Kansas at home.