NORMAN — Oklahoma fans have a tradition during volleyball matches where fans do not sit down until the first point is scored. Normally they are back in their seats less than a minute after each set begins.
However, during the third set Sunday against No. 8 Texas, the Sooner faithful were on their feet for almost five minutes before OU put a point on the board to stop a 7-0 run.
Texas went on to win the set 25-8 and the match (3-0) as the Sooners continue to struggle with top-tier teams.
“It’s a live-and-learn experience,” Oklahoma head coach Santiago Restrepo said. “I just told the team that hopefully we learned from this, and hopefully we don’t repeat this equation if it presents itself again.”
In two matches this year against the Longhorns (18-4, 10-0 Big 12), the Sooners (16-8, 5-4) have been unable to win a single set.
“Texas just played so much better right there at the end compared to us,” Santiago said. “Right now it’s a combination of your team playing perfect volleyball, and Texas having an ‘off match’ for you to win against them.”
Taking advantage of the decent crowd on hand, Oklahoma started the match blasting shots all over the court. Texas seemed to be caught off guard by the activity of the Sooners.
Morgan Reynolds and Sallie McLaurin kept the Sooners firing. They combined for nine kills in the set. But with the score tied at 23-23, it was the Longhorns Bailey Webster who came up with back-to-back kills to win the set 25-23.
“We played really well in the first game,” Tara Dunn said. “We kind of went downhill after the first game, which is kind of upsetting. We really didn’t want to do that.”
In the second set UT came out fast, taking a 13-7 lead. It then went on a 6-1 run and forced Restrepo to call a timeout to try and stop the tidal wave the Horns had created.
But the timeout didn’t help as Texas won the second set 25-10 and took a 2-0 lead into the intermission. Oklahoma wasn’t able to respond.
“Losing that first set, I think it took a little bit of energy out of us,” Dunn said. “Knowing we lost the first game, we know that it would at least go to four if we did come back and win. We kind of think we tried to save a little energy, which is not what we needed to do. But it happens sometimes.”
Michael KinneyFollow me @firstname.lastname@example.org