Clash Volleyball

Norman North's Heavenn Fults serves the ball during the Clash volleyball game, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, at Norman High School. The T-Wolves won their seventh straight match that night. They've won 11 more since. (Kyle Phillips / The Transcript)

Sitting in her office on Wednesday, Norman North volleyball coach Stephanie Kane commented that the conference the Timberwolves play in, the COAC, is quite good this season.

Because of it, North might just be on its most impressive regular-season run in program history.

“We were conference champions in 2017,” Kane reminded, “and went undefeated in conference play.”

There’s that, what North's doing now may be more impressive.

Recall the Crosstown Clash.

Played Sept. 10 at Norman High, North prevailed 25-17, 25-18, 25-16, yet afterward, Kane had a long talk with her team about needing to be better in the visiting locker room.

Far from a coach who couldn’t leave well enough alone, the T-Wolves have responded since with a regular-season run for the ages.

The victory over its crosstown rival was North’s seventh straight. Since that night, the T-Wolves have run the streak to 18, including three on Friday, their first day at the Jenks Invitational.

The kicker is who some of those victories have come against.

At the Owasso Invitational, North swept sixth-ranked Edmond Memorial 2-0 and playing best three-of-five on the final day of that event, avenged one of its three losses by toppling Class 5A No. 1 Victory Christian 3-1, before taking down Edmond Memorial a second time, 3-2, in the championship.

Two days later, North dropped fifth-ranked Mustang 3-2. And four days after that — Friday at Jenks — the T-Wolves bounced the second-ranked Trojans 2-1, seventh-ranked McGuinness 2-1 and 12th-ranked Bixby 2-1.

Today, the T-Wolves will try to claim another tournament championship, push their win streak to 20, their record to 25-3 and, just maybe, make their case as the state’s No. 1 team.

Currently, Bishop Kelley’s atop the mountain, receiving 20 first-place votes from the Class 6A coaches, one spot in front of Jenks, which is getting one first-place vote, followed by North, which is getting two first-place votes.

Something has clicked for the T-Wolves.

“We’ve just changed our mentality,” sophomore setter Riley Roberts said, “and we’ve realized that every single game is important.”

The Clash was a wakeup call.

“We know what our best is,” said middle blocker Lari Migliorino, North’s kill leader, who added, “A lot of people just have a lot more confidence on the floor now.”

Kane recalls the victory over Victory Christian as particularly important, and not just because it was a win over a terrific team.

“They kept us out of system by attacking or setters. We kind of got a little frustrated,” she said. “Adversity set in and I thought we did a really good job of managing how to battle it. Like, we took it one point at a time. 

“I don’t want to say that we slowed down the game, but we just really focused in on that one point instead of the score.”

North may have another date with Jenks today. Whether it does or not, the Trojans are visiting on Thursday.

Before a regional the T-Wolves are sure to host begins, dates with strong programs remain against Edmond Memorial, at eighth-ranked Deer Creek and back home against fourth-ranked Edmond Santa Fe.

Remaining perfect against that gauntlet won’t be easy, though it should have the T-Wolves very ready for the postseason.

“We just want to do our best and work as a team,” Migliorino said, “and work our way to state.”

It won’t be long.

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