The University of Oklahoma volleyball team finished the NIKE Invitational with back-to-back sweeps as it picked up a 3-0 win over Lamar at McCasland Field House on Saturday afternoon. The Sooners improved to 9-1, while the Cardinals remained winless at 0-9.
The straight-sets victory came by scores of 25-20, 25-21 and 25-16 as Oklahoma out hit Lamar, .363 to .192 for the match. Despite the scores of the first two sets remaining close until the end, the Sooners hit .400 or better in each set, including a .464 attack rate in the second.
Oklahoma overcame a slow start in the third to land its largest margin of victory in a set for the day. The Sooners were down 9-7 and called timeout; igniting a 10-3 run to take the lead and gain the needed separation.
“We’ve got to maintain a high level of play, respect our opponents and make sure that you go after it because they’re going to come after you,” head coach Santiago Restrepo said of Lamar’s ability to push OU early. “We looked to maintain our consistency in working towards winning the match and playing at a high level.”
Redshirt-senior outside hitter Madison Ward (Lawton, Okla.) led the Sooner attack with 12 kills, while hitting .409 with 11 digs for her first double-double of the season. Senior outside hitter Kimmy Gardiner (Grapevine, Texas) hit .444 and was also in double figures with 10 kills to go with seven digs and four assists.
Senior middle blocker Micaela Spann (Carrollton, Texas) hit a team-high .467 with nine kills and five blocks as junior middle blocker Marion Hazelwood (Beach City, Texas) added six kills and six blocks.
Cardinal outside hitter Chelsea Grant led all players with 15 kills as she hit .414. Murielle Hlavac added 12, while hitting .391.
Sophomore setter Audrey Alford (Norman, Okla.) passed out 38 assists and picked up four digs and three block assists for the Sooners. Redshirt-sophomore libero Rachel Manriquez (Edmond, Okla.) was second on the team with nine digs.
Manriquez and Gardiner were each named to the NIKE Invitational All-Tournament Team.
Oklahoma is on the road next week for three matches in Los Angeles. The Sooners take the court at USC at 10 p.m. CT Thursday.