Dec. 5, 1997
Oklahoma Downs Houston 3-0 in NCAA First Round Action
Sooners to Face Defending National Champion Stanford Next
STANFORD, Calif. - The Oklahoma women's volleyball team,
making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1988, made
its return a successful one with a first round 15-12, 15-9,
16-14 victory over Houston at Stanford University's Maples
Pavilion. With the win, the Sooners, who improved to 20-12 on
the season, advance to face the defending national champion
Stanford Cardinal tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are
still available and can be purchased at the gate. With the
loss, Houston completed its season with a 23-10 mark.
Oklahoma, which would have to overcome early deficits in all
three games, shook off early jitters to overcome a 6-1 Houston
run to open play in the first game and eventually knotted the
game up at 10-10. After a see-saw battle to 12-12, the Sooners
broke free and capped the comeback with a dump shot by junior
setter Meredith Van Horn that delivered the Sooners to a 15-12
game one win.
The Cougars managed a 3-1 lead in game two before Oklahoma and
senior outside hitter Patrice Arrington caught fire. Led by
Arrington, who posted 11 kills in the second stanza, the
Sooners ran off a 9-1 run and never looked back en route to a
15-9 game two victory and a 2-0 match lead.
Houston again took a 3-1 lead in the third game, but unlike the
first two, the Cougars hung in and prevented any substantial
Sooner runs. The Sooners took their first lead at 7-6 and
never relinquished it. The Cougars never allowed the Sooners
to pull away, drawing the game to 14-14 and within reach of a
win. After five consecutive sideouts, a Cougar hitting error
and match-winning kill by junior middle blocker Tanisha Webster
delivered the Sooners to a 16-14 win and the opening round
Arrington posted match-high's in kills (21) and digs (14) for
Oklahoma while senior outside hitter Melissa Peterson and
Webster added 14 and 13 kills, respectively, for the Sooners.
Van Horn recorded a match-high 55 assists. Senior outside
hitter Emily Leffers paced Houston with 17 kills while junior
outside hitter Debbie Vokes pitched in 14.
Oklahoma Head Coach Miles Pabst:
"We're really happy with the win. I thought we made a
wonderful comeback in game one. We played okay in game two,
but I thought we were tentative in game three. I felt that we
played not to lose. We didn't use the middle like we should
have. None of these kids have been in the NCAA Tournament and
they came out tight, but did a good job. We'll get ready for
Stanford tomorrow night."
Houston Head Coach Bill Walton:
"We didn't play very good. We didn't seem to have the right
attitude throughout the match and there was a lot of
rationalizing when we were down. Oklahoma's outside hitters
did a good job of keeping the pressure on, never allowing us an
opportunity to feel good about our play. It was a good win for
Oklahoma and hopefully they can get it together for Stanford.
We both played an ugly game tonight."