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College Volleyball: Sooners Knock Off No. 25 ISU, NWSU Outlasts Oral Roberts

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Sooners Knock Off No. 25 ISU

NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma volleyball team defeated No. 25 Iowa State at home on Saturday afternoon, 3-2. The Sooners improved to 14-3 overall and 2-1 in the Big 12, while the Cyclones dropped to 8-5 and 2-1.

"[Iowa State] is ranked for a reason," said head coach Santiago Restrepo. "They are extremely well coached and a very good team, but we are also a very good team. Looking at the stats, everything looks even across the board. We just happened to play very well in the fifth."

Oklahoma is now 2-1 against ranked opponents this season; having previously beaten No. 25 BYU on September 7.

The two teams traded sets as the Sooners picked up the victory; 25-20, 17-25, 25-23, 17-25 and 15-12.

Oklahoma led big in the first, 19-11, and held on to take the set behind a .300 hitting percentage, including five kills by senior Keila Rodriguez and four by redshirt-freshman Madison Ward.

Rodriguez led the way for the OU attack in the third with seven kills and a .500 hitting percentage. For the match, she led all players with 19 kills. Rodriguez notched her team-leading fifth double-double of the season as she tallied 12 digs.

"We had four players in double-digits in kills," Restrepo said. "If Keila is going to hit over .200 and lead the team in kills, then by no means, let's feed her."

In the fifth, the Sooners hit .400 as a team. The set was tied, 8-8, until senior middle blocker Sallie McLaurin rattled off four kills in the next four points to go up 11-9. She hit .406 for the match, posted 14 kills and four blocks.

Sophomore outside hitter Kierra Holst reached double figures with 12 kills, hit .303 and registered a kill on match-point. Ward was the fourth Sooner in double-digits with 11.

Iowa State was led by Mackenzie Bigbee with 18 kills and Tenisha Matlock with 14. Libero Kristen Hahn led all players with 39 digs, while Jenelle Hudson dished out 55 assists.

For Oklahoma, sophomore libero Taylor Migliazzo recorded a team-high 16 digs, followed by senior defensive specialist Eden Williams with 14.

Sophomore Julia Doyle collected a season-high 48 assists.

OU played in front of a season-high crowd of 854.

"It was a great atmosphere," Restrepo said. "I thank the Sooner nation for coming to support our volleyball team. Hopefully we gained more fans.

The Sooners are back in action on Wednesday at Kansas at 6:30 pm.

NORTHWESTERN STATE OUTLASTS ORU, 3-2

TULSA, Okla. – Oral Roberts University could not hold off a furious Northwestern State rally as they fell to the Lady Demons, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon at the Kenneth H. Cooper Aerobics Center. The loss snaps ORU's five-match winning streak and hands the Golden Eagles (13-3, 5-1 Southland Conference) their first loss of the season in league play.

Northwestern State (8-9, 4-1 SLC) was victorious by scores of 25-17, 26-28, 20-25, 25-21 and 15-10.

Sara Pope matched a career high with 19 kills in the win, while Laura Taylor set a personal best with 56 assists. But the Golden Eagles hit just .190 as a team, including a -.030 mark in the decisive 5th set.

The Lady Demons were paced by freshman Ashley Elrod, who smacked 17 kills and added 14 digs for good measure. Stacey DiFrancesco chipped in 14 kills.

Defensively, Bruna Silva led all players with 31 digs, while Keelie Arneson paced the Demons with 22 digs.

ORU had a tough time getting rolling in the 1st set, falling behind, 7-2. The Golden Eagles fought back to even the match at 11-11 on a Northwestern State error, by the Lady Demons soon regained control. A combined block by Caiti O'Connell and Vanessa Coleman gave the visitors a 19-14 lead, and they clinched the set at 25-17 on a Glynna Johnson kill.

The 2nd set was much tougher, with both teams failing to capitalize on several set points. ORU was turned away at 24-23 by an O'Connell kill, but Pope killed off an NSU set point at 25-24. The junior again turned NSU away with a kill at 26-25, and finally ORU took the set, 28-26, on a Lady Demon error.

Nika Mostahinic and Jessica Pancratz alternated kills on the first four points of the 3rd set, building a 4-0 lead for the Golden Eagles. The Lady Demons came back to even the set at 16-all on consecutive DiFrancesco kills, but ORU steadied the ship. The Golden Eagles scored five of the set's final six points, capped by a Mostahinic kill, to take a 25-20 win.

ORU was in prime position to end the match when a Luara Rosa kill evened the 4th set at 21-all and provided the home team with a shot of momentum. But the Lady Demons held tough and scored the final four points of the frame. Mackenzie Neely started the run with a kill and finished it with an ace, sending the match to a 5th set with a 25-21 win.

Northwestern State launched an 8-1 run midway through the final set to take an 11-5 lead. The outcome was never in doubt after that, with O'Connell blasting a kill on the second match point to give the visitors a match-ending 15-10 victory.

Despite the loss, several Golden Eagles had fine individual performances. Rosa smashed a career-best 15 kills, while Mostahinic had a career-high 13 kills to go with nine digs. On the defensive end, Kylie Johnson set a season-best with 19 digs, and Sthephanie Mab added a season-high 12 digs.

The Golden Eagles will try to get back in the win column on Saturday, October 12, when they face defending SLC champion Central Arkansas. First serve in Conway, Ark., is scheduled for 12 pm CT.

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