SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Oklahoma volleyball earned its first win against Fresno State in program history after a 3-1 victory at Leavey Center in California. The Sooners took the match in four sets: 25-17, 25-18, 23-25, 25-15.
The overall series against the Sooners and Bulldogs are now tied, 1-1. Ever since it’s win in Nashville against Lipscomb, OU has been riding a four-win streak, including sweeping the weekend in Santa Clara, 3-0.
“Really pleased with the team effort to finish 3-0 while out at Santa Clara,” head coach Lindsey Gray-Walton said. “This is a long season, and the preseason grind teaches you a lot about the maturity you need to handle the long travel days and gritty matches that make up a successful season.”
OU put on a defensive clinic today with a season-best 16 blocks and led the conference in blocks/set (3.85) over the weekend. Offensively, the Sooners also had a solid performance, out hitting the Bulldogs .322 to .111
The Sooners also posted the most assists in a four-set match (41) this season and sit in third over the weekend (12.39) and overall (12.30) in assists per set. OU’s 11 service aces against the Bulldogs ties for second in the conference.
Freshman Taylor Preston led the court with career-bests in kills (19), digs (11), blocks (six) and service aces (three). Preston posted her second double-double of the season (19 kills, 11 digs) and is the only Sooner to do so this season. She also leads the Sooners with the most points per match individually with 25. Overall, this season, Preston rankings third in kills (81) and total points (92.5) among the team.
Newcomer Alexis Shelton was the third Sooner to post double-digit kills with 11, while hitting a .455 during the match. Following Wilson, Shelton sits in second this season in kills (90) and total points (97.5).
Defensively, junior Kelsey Carrington led the way matching a career-best nine blocks, which is tied for second-best in the conference and first overall among the Sooners. The last time Carrington earned this mark was on Oct. 23, 2020, at Kansas State. Freshman Morgan Perkins continues to be a key part in OU’s defensive, posting a career-best in blocks (seven). She leads the season in three of the four major block categories – total blocks (39), block assists (36) and block solos (33). Perkins sits in second behind Carrington in blocks per set with 1.22.
“Great defense leads to championship level offense,” Gray-Walton noted. “Callie Kemohah anchored the back court, and both Kelsey Carrington and Morgan Perkins were a dominating presence at the net which allowed for us to pull away in each of the matches this weekend.”
OU took the first set (25-17) after Fresno State went on a two-point run to begin the match. The teams went back-and-forth throughout the opening set until the Sooners went on a five-point run, 17-10, after back-to-back kills from Wilson and a couple of attack errors from Fresno State. After a Bulldogs timeout, Wilson added a kill while sophomore Callie Kemohah posted a service ace to extend the lead 20-11. A pair of kills from freshman duo, Shelton and Perkins, sealed the win in the opening match. The trio of Wilson, Preston and Shelton continued their dominance with five kills each in the first set.
Fresno State once again got off to a fast start with a 3-0 run to lead the match. After being down 4-1 at one point, the Sooners went on a six-point run to gain momentum after a pair of service aces and a kill by Wilson. Errors by Fresno State extended OU’s lead 11-5. Errors from the Sooners allowed the Bulldogs to have a chance in the set, cutting the lead to 23-15. OU battled for the last two points to take the second set, 25-18. Wilson led the Sooners with six kills on a .545 clip, while Preston added four kills in the set.
Fresno State pushed the match to a fourth after taking the third set, 25-23. The Sooners jumped to an early 2-1 lead but fell behind after a three-point run from the Bulldogs, 4-2. The two teams would trade points back and forth throughout the whole set. OU battled a two-point deficit at one point to tie the match, 22-22, but an attack error from Wilson allowed Fresno State to jump ahead, 24-22. After an OU timeout, Shelton brought the lead within one, but the Bulldogs concluded the set with a kill from Addison Haluska.
The Sooners got off to a fast start in the fourth and final set after a pair of service aces from freshman Chloe Kaminski sparked a 4-0 run for the Sooners. The pair of aces marked a career-high for Kaminski. OU would go on a seven-point run, 11-1, after a trio of kills from the Sooners (Wilson, Preston and Carrington) and three attack errors from Fresno State. The Bulldogs would battle back and cut the lead to five (19-14), but Preston’s career-best 19th kills would seal the victory for the Sooners, 3-1. The Union, Kentucky native posted an impressive six kills and a team-high four blocks in the last set.
“This team is on a mission and each day matters to them,” Gray-Walton said. “You can see it in how they are communicating, asking questions, supporting, and celebrating the person next to them. Our culture can be the competitive advantage along with the physical presence we can impose on our opponents.”
TRIO OF SOONERS NAMED ALL-TOURNAMENT
Sophomore duo Wilson and Kemohah, along with freshman Taylor Preston earned All-Tournament recognition at the Santa Clara Tournament. With her second All-Tournament honor of the season, Wilson earned 31 kills, 17 digs and 12 blocks on the weekend. Preston racked up 38 kills and posted 16 digs and eight blocks, while Kemohah showed out defensively with 55 digs.
The Sooners will play their final three non-conferences matches of the season. OU will conclude its seven-match road stretch at Abilene Christian in Texas at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13. The squad will close out the non-conference slate at McCasland Field House Friday to host both Texas Southern and Nevada at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.