The Norman Transcript

Sports

September 26, 2013

Sooners win Big 12 opener

NORMAN — Seemingly the perpetual Big 12 offensive player of the week, Oklahoma senior middle blocker Sallie McLuarin was at it again Wednesday night during the Sooners’ 3-1 (25-21, 25-22, 23-25, 25-19) victory over Texas Tech.

McLaurin struggled in the first set, finishing with a single kill and two errors in five strikes, yielding a woeful hitting percentage of minus-.200.

Despite the slow start, McLaurin finished hitting at a sparkling .462 clip, converting a team-best 14 kills over 26 strikes; meanwhile, she committed nary an attack error the rest of the night.

Her dominance is also her versatility, a facet she offered clearly in the final set, finishing off a trio of consecutive kills over the course of four points.

For the first point, she won a battle at the net with a couple of Red Raiders. For the second, she deftly and softly directed the volleyball to the court’s back right corner, unoccupied Texas Tech defenders. The third was a conventional and unreturnable crush.

So, the Sooners had that.

Yet what made Wednesday night a particularly good night was that they had quite a bit more.

McLaurin was one of only four Sooners (13-2, 1-0 Big 12) to finish with at least 10 kills.

“When a lot of the hitters are on, that’s when we’re at our best,” she said. “I still think we can improve a lot … We have amazing hitters and they have a lot of potential. I think they showed a little bit of that tonight.”

Nobody was a better supporting actor than freshman middle blocker Micaela Spann.

Though a few errors caught up to her in the finals set, she finished with 11 kills in 27 swings and finished with a .296 hitting percentage that was at .455 after two sets and .368 after three. 

“The past couple of matches, I haven’t been playing quite what my expectations were for myself,” she said. “This match I really wanted to come out and prove who I am, especially starting conference.”

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