For the first time since Sept. 14, the Sooners (6-7, 0-2 Big 12) are back home in Norman.
As Oklahoma pivots to its second conference series vs. Kansas State (9-4, 0-2 Big 12) at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, the entire team will have to be locked in to come up with two wins.
Since OU logged its first game of a 16-day road trip, the Sooners have accumulated a 1-2 record and were outmatched 7-5 in total set count the past three games — 6-2 vs. West Virginia, 3-1 against SMU — since returning home. Redshirt senior outside hitter Savannah Davison hopes to guide her team to two wins against Kansas State and an NCAA tournament berth down the line.
“We had a tough preseason schedule,” Davison said. “I think it taught us a lot, especially the younger players on the team, how to be gritty (and) persevere through hard games and stuff like that. That’s kind of a challenge that we were working towards. And, we're just trying to cap a couple games to get a ticket into the tournament.
“I feel like the younger girls, especially, are going into their world as well just trying and taking on the load that they can. So (the veterans) don't have to take on as much, if that makes sense. … And once we get a win under our belts, I think we're just gonna go up from there.”
Davison, alongside redshirt senior middle blocker Paige Anderson, has carried the leadership for Oklahoma this season. Against West Virginia alone, the pair had 63 kills, with both atop of Oklahoma’s kill count in the two games.
Anderson notched a career-high 18 kills in OU’s second game against the Mountaineers on Sept. 25. She and Davison have 140 and 118 kills this season, respectively, which is currently the second and third most kills on the roster.
However, offensive power hasn’t been an issue for the Sooners this season. Ultimately, a lack of team chemistry has plagued them.
“I think that, especially this week, we've kind of locked in on all the little things that we need to work on as a team,” Anderson said. “Because we always talk about how important that is, especially in gameplay. Just how important the little things are. And I think one of those things is just getting back into a groove as a team outside of the court, as well as on the court. But this week, I think we've all just felt that pressure, and we want to get a win under our belt."
Oklahoma’s young players have stepped up in a big way this season, as well. Freshman setter Peyton Dunn, who has won Big 12 Rookie of the Week two times this season, leads the team with 520 assists. She’s garnered at least 35 kills in every match this season. Freshman outside hitter/middle blocker Megan Wilson has been huge, as well, tallying a team-high 205 kills.
After dropping two straight road games to West Virginia, however, Oklahoma is still facing the pressure to get over .500 again for the third time this season.
“We’re excited to get back and be on our home court,” Davison said. "I think being home for this week has really helped us work on things, and we just kind of focused on getting better.”