Volleyball Hosts Oklahoma On Friday

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    Matt Keller
    Matt Keller

    The West Virginia University volleyball team welcomes Big 12 foe Oklahoma to the WVU Coliseum on Friday, Oct. 13, in a 6 p.m. ET tilt.

    The first 500 fans through the gate on Friday night will receive a free rally towel. Additionally, the first 125 maniacs will receive a free WVU water bottle along with free pizza prior to first serve.

    In honor of Homecoming, the Mountaineers also will recognize several former student-athletes throughout the match. For more details, click HERE. Following the conclusion of the match, the squad will host a free autograph session to all fans. Tickets are available by visiting WVUGAME.com, calling 1-800-WVU-GAME or at the Mountaineer Ticket Office, located at the Gold Gate of the WVU Coliseum.

    “We are excited to have our alumni back in Morgantown,” said WVU coach Reed Sunahara. “I think we have about 30 alums coming back to town, and that is the first in a long time that we have had that many come back. We are excited to have them. They are the ones that set the foundation for us. They’ve been through this program, and we want to represent the program well.”

    The Mountaineers (12-6, 1-4) and the Sooners (4-14, 1-4) meet for the 12th time overall on Friday and the 11th time in league play since WVU joined the Big 12 in 2012. OU currently owns an 11-0 lead in the all-time series. Of note, Oklahoma was unable to travel to West Virginia in 2015, forcing WVU to play consecutive matches at OU. Oklahoma then returned the favor last season, as the Mountaineers played host to the Sooners in back-to-back contests. The traditional home-and-away series is now back on track, as the Mountaineers travel to Norman, Oklahoma, for a match on Nov. 4.

    West Virginia dropped a pair of Big 12 matches in its last week of competition, falling to then-No. 11 Kansas, 3-1, at the WVU Coliseum on Oct. 4 and [RV] Baylor, 3-0, at the Ferrell Center on Oct. 7. WVU finished the week hitting .155 with 78 kills, 15 blocks and 97 digs. Three Mountaineers – Katelyn Evans, Natania Levak and Mia Swanegan – each recorded 17 kills throughout a two-game span, followed by Payton Caffrey with 15. Erin Slinde assisted on 56 kills, while Alexa Hasting led the team with 32 digs on the week.

    “We need to get better,” Sunahara said. “Every point matters. They (Oklahoma) are playing well. Every team in the conference is good, so every match is important for us. They are here. At least we are at home. We have to get back on the track that we were on before.”

    Sixty-seven percent of Big 12 teams rank among the nation’s top 53 in the NCAA RPI poll, with West Virginia coming in at No. 53. West Virginia is hitting .241 and holding its opponents to a .174 clip, while out blocking its opponents, 150.5-117.5 The Mountaineers led the Big 12 in service aces, averaging 1.51 aces per set. WVU also ranks third in blocks per set (2.32) and fourth in hitting percentage (.241) and opponent percentage (.174).

    Caffrey continues to lead the Big 12 with 0.45 aces per set and ranks inside the top 10 in points (eighth) and kills (ninth). Additionally, Slinde sits inside the top five in service aces (third) and assists (fourth). The sophomore setter averages 0.32 service aces and 10.32 assists per set. Lindsay Proctor also ranks eighth in service aces, averaging 0.23 aces per set. Swanegan ranks fourth with 1.15 blocks per set, and Hasting ranks ninth with 3.63 digs per set.

    Oklahoma has dropped nine of its last 10 contests before picking up its first win since Sept. 8 against Texas Tech, on Oct. 4 in Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners swept the Red Raiders, 3-0, Wednesday evening, but then dropped a four-set match to then-No. 11 Kansas, 3-1, on Oct. 7.

    Alyssa Enneking recorded her ninth double-double of the season against the Jayhawks in a 16-kill, 11-dig effort. She continues to lead the Sooner attack with 4.20 kills per set along with 3.50 digs per set in conference play. Morgan Miller is coming off a double-double effort against Kansas as well. The junior has split time between outside hitter and setter; averaging 4.16 assists, 2.02 kills, 1.80 digs and 0.49 blocks per set. Junior setter Audrey Alford averages 8.86 assists and 1.88 digs per set.

    Of note, the Sooners are 0-6 on the road this season, while the Mountaineers boast an even record (3-3) at home.

    Looking ahead, the Mountaineers will travel to Ames, Iowa, on Wednesday, Oct. 18, for a match against No. 23 Iowa State. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.

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