OU volleyball: Sooners open NCAA postseason tournament against Arizona State at 6 p.m. Friday
The Oklahoma volleyball team makes history as the only team in the program’s history to appear in the NCAA postseason tournament for four consecutive years when it faces Arizona State at 6 p.m. Friday in Provo, Utah.
OU has never faced ASU, and the Sun Devils are making their first appearance in the tournament since 2006.
“It’s a great accomplishment for the University of Oklahoma and the volleyball program here,” coach Santiago Restrepo said.
The Sooners, who finished with their 16th 20-plus win season, are 8-8 all-time in postseason action and have advanced to the regional round twice — in 2006 and 2010.
In order to advance to Regionals, the Sooners will have to beat the winner of the game between host school 12th-seeded BYU and New Mexico State in the other opening-round match Friday night. The winners of first round competitions will square off at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The winner of that match will advance to the Omaha Regional.
OU earned the at-large bid into the tournament after finishing the season with back-to-back wins over TCU and Kansas State.
“To make it into the NCAA Tournament the last four years means that we have had great players go and continue to come through the program,” Restrepo said. “It means that we have had very good coaches and support staff helping them along in every way.”
The Sooners finished the regular season with a 21-10 overall record, recording their fifth 20-plus win season since Restrepo took over the reins of the program in 2004. Although OU finished the Big 12 stint with a 10-6 record, all six conference losses were to higher-ranked teams that also will make appearances in the postseason tournament.
Oklahoma joins three-seed Texas, 11-seed Kansas,15-seed Iowa State and Kansas State as the representatives in this year’s tournament from the Big 12.
OU is led by senior middle blocker Sallie McLaurin, who enters postseason play with 309 kills and 152 blocks. McLaurin averages 3.66 points per set and has a team-leading 359 points this season.
The Sun Devils finished with a 20-13 overall record, led by freshman Macey Gardner who recorded 608.5 points, 300 digs and a team-leading 562 blocks. Her rookie performance was enough to earn Pac-12 first team honors, the first time a player from the ASU program earned that type of distinction since 2002.