MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (Nov. 18, 2020) – The No. 14-ranked West Virginia University volleyball team caps its 2020 fall slate with a two-match series at Oklahoma on Nov. 19-20.
Both contests are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, at McCasland Field House, in Norman, Oklahoma, and will be carried live on FOX Sports Oklahoma.
Live stat links for both matches can be found on WVUsports.com.
“We have to take care of business,” sixth-year coach Reed Sunahara said. “That has been the message every day this week. Not just this week, but every week. The players have done a nice job of staying focused and getting better every day. Oklahoma is a good team. They are historically good. It will be a challenge.”
WVU checked into the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Rankings for the second consecutive week, coming in at No. 14. Last week, the Mountaineers earned their highest national ranking in program history, sitting at No. 13. Without full participation from the conferences, the AVCA is releasing only the top-15 teams each week instead of 25.
The Mountaineers and Sooners will meet for the 18th time overall on Thursday. OU owns a 16-1 all-time series advantage and is 15-1 against WVU since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 Conference in 2012.
West Virginia’s lone win came in 2017, when the squad claimed a 3-1 victory in Morgantown. A month later, WVU rallied to play a fifth-set match in Norman, marking the first five-set match between the two squads in program history, but eventually fell to OU by a score of 15-10 in the final frame. Since then, the Mountaineers have only taken one set off the Sooners.
WVU has forced a fifth set in six of its 14 matches this season, including a pair of road wins at then-No. 10 Kansas on Oct. 9-10. The Mountaineers are 4-2 in five-set matches this season and are 3-3 on the road.
WVU has won a program-best seven conference matches and sits in fourth place in the Big 12 standings. The last time the Mountaineers won six or more conference matches was in 2017, when they finished 21-13 and advanced to the semifinals of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship.
Last week, West Virginia dropped a pair of matches to No. 1 Texas at the WVU Coliseum, falling in four sets on Nov. 12, and three sets on Nov. 13.
Freshman outside hitter/defensive specialist Skye Stokes was named WVU’s Student-Athlete of the Week for the first time in her career on Monday. The Chester, West Virginia, native posted a team-best six service aces, averaging 0.86 per set, in the two-match series against the Longhorns. She served up a career-high four service aces in the Mountaineers’ first-set victory on Nov. 12, including three straight to open the match. The mark is tied for the third-highest ace total in the Big 12this season.
As a team, WVU ranks 29th nationally in digs (14.36 d/s), 41st in blocks (1.93 b/s) and 44th in opponent hitting percentage (.233), assists (10.83 a/s) and kills (11.95 k/s).
Senior middle blocker Briana Lynch, who was the lone Mountaineer named to the 2020 Preseason All-Big 12 Team, ranks inside the top six of two conference categories, sitting at No. 4 in hitting percentage (.338) and No. 6 in blocks per set (1.02 b/s).
Oklahoma looks to snap a four-match losing streak in its fall finale following a pair of losses at Texas Tech last week. OU is hitting .174 and averaging 10.5 kills per set.
Freshman outside hitter Guewe Giouf earned her third Big 12 Rookie of the Week honor on Tuesday for the third time this season. Giouf paces the team offensively and ranks fourth in the conference with 3.74 kills per set. She has tallied double-digit kills in nine of 10 matches this season and has reached the 20-kill mark twice. Senior defensive specialist Keyton Kinely, a two-time Big 12 Libero of the Year, leads the team’s floor defense with 4.09 digs per set to rank fourth in the league.
Credit: WVU Sports – Amy Salvatore