The Sooners fell to Texas (2-0), 3-1, Friday night, making their record 0-2 on the season.
The Longhorns won sets one, two and four — 25-14, 25-20 and 25-13, respectively — while OU took the third set with a 29-27 score. Texas out-killed the Sooners 69-43 while garnering a .390 hitting percentage and keeping OU’s hitting percentage down to .152.
OU had a sluggish start to the match, allowing Texas to take a 15-5 lead at the beginning of the first set. However, head coach Lindsey Gray-Walton gave the Sooners a speech that sparked the team to have much better starts to the rest of the sets.
“We were out-passing them. We were doing the deal from the service line like we had asked them to,” Gray-Walton said. “We needed them to be better servers and we needed to put our setter in rhythm more than we were, so it was a challenge to the attackers. I think it motivated them a little bit but it takes one point to change the momentum and I think that’s what we saw in the second (set).”
Although OU took its second straight loss of the season, Gray-Walton said she saw improvements in the second match.
“Definitely a smile under this mask after tonight only because you don’t like the pity set win, but that’s not what it was because we did show more of our identity in the second, third and even at times in the fourth set.” Gray-Walton said. “As a whole, defensively, we did a better job at making their attackers feel us at the net and behind. That was something that we wanted to make an adjustment on and still something that’s going to be a focus as we go into the rest of the season.”
The younger players for the Sooners showed flashes of excellence as freshman outside hitter Guewe Diouf led the team in kills for the second-straight match with 18, including eight in the third set. Diouf also averaged a .184 hitting percentage and had five digs.
Sophomore setter Grace Talpash also had back-to-back team highs in assists with 34 along with getting seven digs and five kills.
“We knew from the start that whether it was injury or just because of how good and competitive our freshmen were that we were going to see them out there at some point.” Gray-Walton said. “How often, how many of them—I don’t know that we expected all of them at this time and then carrying the loads that they are, their hearts have to be racing out there, and so it's nice to see them get some time and experience and some successes, and that’s going to help them build confidence and keep going.”
The Sooners will have time to correct their mistakes as they have a bye week before they head to Waco, Texas, to take on Baylor at 6 p.m. Oct. 8.
“I like that we get the bye week so that we can have time to review our film and work on ourselves,” Gray-Walton said. “You’re always working on a scouting report, so that’s kind of nice that we can see the film, work on our fine-tune details and just become more crisp, whether it’s pass, whether it's that rhythm attack. And I think that comes with spending more time out there together.”