Georgia Tech Classic / Sept. 10-12 / O’Keefe Gymnasium / Atlanta, Ga.
NORMAN — The Sooners will continue their six-match road stretch at the Georgia Tech Classic in Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 10-12.
OU opens the tournament with a Friday doubleheader against Indiana at 11 a.m. CT and Mississippi State at 5 p.m. CT. The Sooners will close out the weekend against host Georgia Tech at noon on Sunday. Sunday’s match can be watched on ACC Network Extra.
LAST TIME OUT
The Sooners are coming off a perfect weekend at the Gonzaga Invitational. OU went 3-0 against Air Force, Seattle and Gonzaga, giving up just one set across all three matches.
OU picked up its first win of the season against Air Force in a 3-1 victory, 25-23, 19-25, 25-18, 25-16. Freshman Megan Wilson had another exceptional night on offense, tallying 15 kills on a .317 clip. Senior Paige Anderson and freshman Kristen Birmingham each recorded seven kills. Making her first appearance of the season, Olivia LittleJim added six kills of her own on a .278 clip. Freshman Peyton Dunn recorded her fourth-straight match with at least 30 assists as she tallied 31 on the night. Dunn added 11 digs for her second-straight double-double.
Game two of the weekend saw the Sooners earn their first sweep of the year in a 3-0 win over Seattle, 25-20, 25-17, 25-17. Wilson recorded her fifth-consecutive game with at least 15 kills as she tallied 17 on a .353 clip. Anderson was just shy of the double-digit mark as she notched nine kills on a team-best .375 clip. Defensively, Callie Kemohah and Olivia LittleJim led the way with seven kills each. LittleJim also chipped in six kills on the day.
In the weekend finale, OU swept Gonzaga 25-20, 27-25, 25-22. n Wilson was just one kill shy of her career best, notching 18 on the night. Wilson made just three errors on 35 attempts as she hit on a .429 clip. LittleJim added 14 kills on a .333 clip, while Birmingham chipped in seven. Dunn proved she could do it all collecting 39 assists, six blocks, five digs and five kills. This was the fourth match of the season where she recorded at least 35 kills.
DUNN NAMED ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Freshman Peyton Dunn was named the Big 12 Conference Rookie of the Week in week two. Dunn helped lead Oklahoma to a 3-0 weekend at the Gonzaga Invitational where she was named to the All-Tournament team. The Parker, Colo., native notched 105 total assists, good for 10.50 assists per set.
In each match of the tournament Dunn recorded at least 30 assists and has reached that mark in every match of the season. Against Gonzaga on Sunday, she tallied 39 assists and averaged 13 per set. She also recorded marks of 31 and 35 against Air Force and Seattle, respectively. Dunn also tallied 10 kills, 20 digs and 9.0 blocks on the weekend as the Sooners gave up just one set across three matches.
COMING FULL CIRCLE
Oklahoma head coach Lindsey Gray-Walton will coach against her alma mater Sunday afternoon as the Sooners face Georgia Tech. An outside hitter for the Yellow Jackets from 2003-2007, Gray-Walton was an All-ACC selection. The Yellow Jackets won 20 or more matches three times in her career, and posted a 27-7 overall mark on a perfect 16-0 season in ACC play her freshman year.
The Sooners currently rank third in the Big 12 in blocks per set, averaging 2.83. OU ranks first, however, in total blocks with 68. OU has posted double-digit blocks in all but one match with a season-high 14.0 against Air Force. Individually, Kelsey Carrington and Paige Anderson are ranked in the top 10 in the conference. Carrington ranks sixth at 1.31 blocks/set while Anderson ranks seventh with 1.30 blocks/set. Anderson’s 30 total blocks and eight solo blocks both rank first in the league.
Freshman outside hitter Megan Wilson has been on a tear and currently ranks second in the league with 4.29 kills/set. Her 103 total kills lead the league, with the next closest athlete at only 80. Wilson has tallied 15 or more kills in every match this season with a career high of 19. Her 19 kills in a four-set match rank second in the league.
GUESS WHO’S BACK
The Sooners return 10 student-athletes from the 2020 roster, including Paige Anderson and Sarah Sanders who opted to take their COVID fifth year. Anderson returns after being sidelined in 2020 with injury. Also returning are seniors Sabrina Simms and Aysia Harty; juniors Olivia LittleJim (nee Curtis), Abby Butler and Grace Talpash; and sophomore Kelsey Carrington, Sam Anthony and Tyler Alcorn. Anderson and Sanders have both earned All-Big 12 honors with Sanders earning first-team honors in 2019 and Anderson being named to the second team. Sanders was also an All-Southwest Honorable Mention selection in 2019.
LEAD THE WAY
The Sooners have added two new assistant coaches in Ciara Jones and Travis Magorien. Jones joined the Sooners in August after spending four seasons at Howard University as an assistant coach.
Jones played for Marquette from 2008-12 under the leadership of Head Coach Bond Shymansky (Iowa) and Clemson’s head coach Michaela Franklin’s time as an assistant coach with the Golden Eagles. She was a four-year letterwinner where she led the Golden Eagles to the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2011, a season in which she was named a Big East First Team All-American. Jones earned Marquette Athletics’ Outstanding Female Leadership & Service Award in 2012 and served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee in 2011-12.
Magorien comes to Oklahoma after a three-year stint as an assistant coach at James Madison. Magorien was a four-year team captain and letterwinner as a setter for Cal State Northridge, where he led the team in sets for three consecutive years. He ranks seventh all-time in assists with 2,911 over 345 sets at CSUN.
The Hoosiers improved to 5-1 after spending time at the Discover Kalamazoo Classic this past weekend. Despite falling to Western Michigan in game one of the tournament, Indiana was able to bounce back and defeat Purdue Fort Wayne and Southeast Missouri State on Saturday. Freshman Camryn Haworth ranks No. 10 in aces in the Big Ten with 19. Haworth was also named to the All-Tournament team at the Discover Kalamazoo Classic on September 4. Junior Paula Cerame has recorded 80 digs in the first six matches of the season which is No. 7 in the Big Ten. She also garners a 4.15 average per set. As a team, the Hoosiers have put up 71 blocks in 2021 with an average of 2.96 per set. This is good for No. 4 in the conference.
SCOUTING MISSISSIPPI STATE
Mississippi State is currently 5-1 on the season and have played two mutual opponents as the Sooners. The Bulldogs swept Gonzaga in a pair of matches and fell to Houston, 3-2, for their lone loss of the year. State has given up just four sets across six matches this year with four 3-0 sweeps. Libero Lilly Gunter leads the team with 76 digs for a 3.62 digs/set mark. Gabby Coulter has notched 134 assists for a 6.38 assists/set mark while also adding 46 digs on the year. Lauren Myrick and Gabby Waden have led the offensive attack with 69 and 65 kills, respectively.
SCOUTING GEORGIA TECH
The Yellow Jackets are ranked No. 21 in the latest AVCA Division 1 Coaches Top 25 Poll. Since appearing in the Top 25 at No. 12 on Sept. 30, 2020, Georgia Tech has been listed in 25 straight top 25 polls to date. Freshman outside hitter Bianca Bertolino was named ACC Freshman of the Week for the second consecutive time. Bertolino, owning the top freshman in the conference status based on her first two weeks against collegiate competition, put forth another strong weekend against Long Beach State and No. 16 UCLA. at the Long Beach State Tournament. The Argentinian tallied the second most kills on the squad with 30 along with 19 digs, an ace and a block on the weekend.
- The Sooners are 5-2 against the field in program history. OU has never lost to Georgia Tech or Mississippi State and has won the last two meetings with Indiana, most recently in 2019.
- Four of OU’s regular season opponents earned berths in the 2020 NCAA Tournament, including Georgia Tech, Lipscomb and conference foes Baylor and Texas. Texas claimed a runner-up finish in the national title match in 2020.
- The Sooners will be on the road for nine of 10 matches in the month of September. The only home match of the month will be on Sept. 14 against Abilene Christian.
The Sooners will play their final two non-conferences matches of the season. OU will host Abilene Christian inside McCasland Field House on Sept. 14 at 5 p.m. The Sooners will close out the non-conference slate at SMU on Thursday, Sept. 16.