NORMAN — It’s not supposed to be this easy when it’s Broken Arrow on the other side of the net.
Then again, after one season on the outside looking in at the Class 6A state volleyball tournament, Norman North is an improved team and the east-side Tigers are not what they’ve been.
The Timberwolves improved to 11-9 on the season by way of Thursday night’s 3-0 (25-9, 25-22, 25-22) sweep, one that didn’t feel near as close as the last two sets, by the numbers, turned out to be.
“Our offense was able to put the ball down when we need to,” said McKayla Benner, who’s been an offensive force for the T-Wolves going on four seasons. “We were just doing our job out there.”
Broken Arrow made it easy on North right out of the gate, failing to receive serve time and again.
In the final two sets, the Tigers offered a modicum of resistance, while North struggled to exert urgency.
That led to the Tigers playing the T-Wolves within 17-18 in the second set, before North ran off five points, then gave up five of six points before claiming the set. In the final set, it led to the Tigers climbing back into the set after trailing 18-11 and 20-13.
Those lapses and North’s ability to eradicate them going forward could be the difference between a reasonably good season and a state tourney trip for the T-Wolves.
“We’ve come a long way … now I think we’re in the flow of things and have a pretty good chance of going,” senior setter Hayley Reed said. “The only thing stopping us right now is our mental focus and staying consistent, just pushing through.”
Benner was the most exciting player on the court for either team, finishing with 12 kills and four blocks. Reed was equally effective in a different role, setting the T-Wolves up with 27 assists and getting credit for seven kills herself, only one of which came on a full swing.