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OU volleyball: Sooners get first win of season in comeback victory over Kansas

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Sarah Sanders

Senior outside hitter Sarah Sanders hits the ball during the match against Texas on Sept. 24.

The Sooners notched their first victory of the season in a 3-2 comeback against Kansas Friday night in Norman. They won the match in five sets (13-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-16, 15-13), making their total record 1-4.

Oklahoma out-killed the Jayhawks, 61-55, and held Kansas to a .240 hitting percentage, while earning a .275 hitting percentage.

OU continued with their struggles that appeared in the first set, only recording 6 kills and committing 7 errors.

“I don’t think we’re scared to go there but we look hesitant to go there as competitors,” head coach Lindsay Gray-Walton said. “We tell our team all the time, take risks, have fun. It was ugly early on for both teams so it’s hard to get into a rhythm of clean play when it’s not happening on the other side of the net and vice-versa. We were not clean early on either, so I think that’s what you saw. 

“Once we get settled into our clean rhythm of playing, we can do a lot really good things at a high level.”

The stat sheet was much more spread out among players on the Sooners’ squad. Freshman outside hitter Guewe Diouf (15), senior outside hitter Sarah Maras (15), sophomore outside hitter Sanaá Dotson (13) and senior outside hitter Sarah Sanders (12) combined for 55 of OU’s 61 kills.

Sophomore setter Grace Talpash garnered a career-high 48 assists while senior libero Keyton Kinley had a season-high in digs with 20.

"You want a loaded stat sheet,” Gray-Walton said. “We do need to be crisper and ready to go but the best thing about those numbers is that people were getting available in transition and that's what we were harping on all week and that's great to see."

The final set of the match saw many twists and turns play out. The Sooners took an early 5-0 lead before Kansas would go on a 13-5 run to take a 13-10 lead. OU would go on another 5-0 run to win the match 15-13 with a final kill from Talpash.

"That's a heartbreaker or a momentum builder,” Gray-Walton said. “We needed that. We so needed that. Our kids are resilient. Gritted through. A young team - you've just got to keep coaching them. I'm really proud of their effort from every point tonight. It wasn't pretty at times ... we're young, we're emotional - like we say, they're high school seniors plus three months. So we tell them to come out and just play the game. That was fun to see tonight."

The Sooners will play Kansas at 4 p.m. CT Saturday in Norman.


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