Oklahoma (3-8) came home after playing at Texas Tech last week to face No. 14 West Virginia (7-8), and walked away with a 3-1 victory Thursday night.
Thursday and Friday’s matches were set to be the last games of the season, and in the former, the Sooners came out to play. While West Virginia was able to take a close first set, Oklahoma managed to keep its composure and led its competition for the rest of the game.
After falling behind, the Sooners won three consecutive sets to secure their first win against a ranked opponent in 2020.
Offensively, the Sooners outclassed West Virginia with 53 kills to 49, and a .286 hit percentage vs the Mountaineers' percentage of .136. Freshman outside hitter Guewe Diouf and sophomore outside hitter Sanaa Dotson both had career high kills with 24 and 18, respectively.
Sophomore hitter Olivia Curtis and freshman defensive specialist Sam Anthony also achieved career highs in assists with 25 and 21, respectively.
On the defensive side, West Virginia was able to score more digs than Oklahoma, with 51 digs over OU’s 45. Senior libero Kayton Kinley led the Sooners with 16 digs. However, the Sooners scored 16 blocks to stifle the Mountaineer offense.
Set one saw both teams score back to back early into the set before finding themselves tied at 20-20. West Virginia pulled away in the late stages of the set as it scored four kills to win, 25-22. Yet, Oklahoma remained unfazed, and responded to the challenge.
The second set began with more back and forth action until the Sooners five-point run forced a West Virginia timeout with the score at 14-11. West Virginia did manage to catch up, tying the set at 18-18, but the combination of three kills by Oklahoma and three errors by the Mountaineers led OU to a 25-19 win on an ace serve.
Set three again had both teams trading scores and leads until OU called a timeout while up 15-14. After the break, the Sooners jumped ahead to a 20-17 lead over the Mountaineers and held on to win, 25-21.
"It's fun to watch and fun to play that way," OU head coach Lindsey Gray-Walton said after the game. "I think now, a little bit there, you could sense 'Are we really leading? Are we really doing this?'”
The fourth set didn't see the Sooners slow down as they began with an ace serve from Kinley. But the Mountaineers kept the Sooners at close range with the score going back and forth until it was knotted at 16-16.
Later, a consecutive ace and kill by Oklahoma saw it take the lead, and West Virginia failed to answer. Oklahoma eventually took the set, 25-23, and successfully finished its three-set run to upset the Mountaineers.
The victory is one of only two matches this season where the Sooners were able to clinch the win by taking three straight sets, and it snapped their four game losing streak in dominant fashion.
“And it was dicey there, even in the end. And that's the young ones knowing you don't need to be a highlight reel,” Gray-Walton said. “You don't need to be bigtime, we just need the point and then we can go celebrate it … let's see if we can recreate it two nights in a row."
Oklahoma will play West Virginia again Friday evening at 4 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Oklahoma.