MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (September 24, 2021) – The West Virginia University volleyball team opened Big 12 play with a win over Oklahoma in four sets, on Friday evening, at the WVU Coliseum, in Morgantown. The Mountaineers (11-1) beat the Sooners (6-6) in set scores of 25-23, 25-14, 21-25 and 25-22.
“I thought we played good enough to win,” said coach Reed Sunahara. “(Fifth-year senior outside hitter) Athena (Ardila) came in and did a nice job. She changed the momentum for us at the end of the third and fourth sets. That was big for us. Oklahoma is a good team and they did some nice stuff. I told our team we need to watch more film and figure out how we can be better tomorrow.”
In Friday evening’s match, the Mountaineers posted 55 kills and 10 team blocks. The Sooners also had 55 kills and 10 team blocks. WVU led the match in assists (50-46) and digs (65-63).
WVU was led by five Mountaineers who recorded double-digit scores. Senior setter Lacey Zerwas recorded a double-double after tallying 46 assists and 16 digs in the win. She was followed by fifth-year senior Adrian Ell who led the squad with 21 kills, along with seven total blocks.
Senior outside hitter Natali Petrova (18) and fifth-year senior defensive specialist Alexa Hasting (16) recorded double-digit digs in tonight’s match.
They were joined by fifth-year senior middle blocker Briana Lynch who had 10 kills on the night.
The Sooners opened the first set, 2-0, but the Mountaineers responded with a kill. A block from Ell tied the game 3-3 early on. WVU saw a successful challenge early on to tie the game, 4-4. Following the challenge, the Mountaineers went on a 3-0 scoring run to take a 6-4. OU responded with a scoring run of its own. The teams traded points until a double block from Ell and freshman middle blocker Madison Page brought the set to a media timeout. WVU held a 15-12 lead before OU tied the game, 22-22. A kill from Ell and a WVU block brought the set to match point, 24-22. The Mountaineer closed out set one, 25-23.
Set two began similar to set one. OU opened with a pair of kills, but WVU answered back with a kill of its own. A 4-0 West Virginia scoring run gave the Mountaineers a 5-3 lead. From there, the squad held the lead and closed out set two, 25-14.
OU opened set three with a 5-0 scoring run and did not look back. WVU fought hard but ultimately lost the set, 25-21.
The Mountaineers opened the fourth set with a pair of kills, but the Sooners responded with a 5-0 run to take the lead. A 7-1 scoring run from WVU secured the 9-6 lead. WVU controlled the set, keeping OU out of reach. The Mountaineers then took a 16-11 lead. A Sooner’s block late in the set brought the score to 22-20, but the Mountaineers secured the set and match, 25-22 with a kill from Ardila.
The Mountaineers and the Sooners met for the 20th time since 1999. Oklahoma leads the all-time series, 17-3.
West Virginia will continue competition against Oklahoma on Saturday, Sept. 25. The match will begin at 5 p.m.
Saturday’s match is presented by WVU Medicine Children’s and will be the annual Gold Rush match. All fans are encouraged to wear gold. The Mountaineers will be giving away 150 gold headbands as part of the promotion. Saturday’s contest will also be the Lace Up 4 Pediatric Cancer match, where the Mountaineers will dawn gold shoelaces courtesy of Go 4 the Goal Foundation and WVU Medicine Children’s. The match will also be a Mountaineer Kids Club t-shirt pickup day with special appearances by MKC mascot Musket as well as Mr. Twister’s Balloon Art and Face Painting.