Comeback Bid Falls Short as TU falls to Oklahoma 3-2
Sept. 17, 2013
TULSA, Okla. - Senior outside hitter Kellie Culbertson set a career-high with 30 digs as the University of Tulsa volleyball team fell to in-state rival Oklahoma 3-2 (18-25, 20-25, 25-18, 31-29, 13-15) after losing the first two sets in the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Tuesday night.
TU battled back to win the third set and overcame five match points in the fourth to force a final fifth set. Oklahoma was a point away from ending the match in the fourth frame, up 24-21, but TU scored the next three points to tie the set. The rest of the set went back and forth before the Golden Hurricane scored the final two points to win 31-29.
Culbertson recorded her ninth double-double of the season adding a team-high 17 kills. The Long Beach, Calif., native also added four service aces and two block assists.
Junior middle blocker Carly Boatwright added 12 kills, had a .265 hitting percentage and had six total blocks, including three solo blocks. Junior outside hitter Valerie El Houssine added 14 digs and nine kills.
"In Set 4, a back-and-forth affair, they had multiple chances to close it out and we had multiple chances to win the set," Tulsa Head Coach Steven McRoberts said. "It just kept going back-and-forth and we finally pulled it out there at the end. When you're playing these good programs, the number one thing you ask for is just to have a chance. When it's 13-13 in the fifth set, you feel like you have a little momentum and you have your best server back there. We had Kellie back and she hit a good jump serve, and they control it and their outside puts it away. They make one more play and that's the match. Overall, I think we'll be able to take a lot of things from this as a team."
Oklahoma started the match scoring the first five points of the first set. After a TU timeout, the Golden Hurricane scored eight of the next nine points to take a two-point lead, 8-6. With the score tied at 13, OU scored the next five points to lead 18-13. The Sooners scored the five of the final points to take an early 1-0 lead.
OU had a two-point lead, 15-13, in the second frame, but the Sooners scored the next four points to increase its lead by six, 19-13. TU bounced back scoring five of the next six points to cut the Sooners lead back to two, 20-18. But OU scored five of the final seven points to take a 2-0 lead into the intermission.
"I was a little bit disappointed with our focus and our effort coming out in the first two sets," McRoberts said. "(Head Coach) Santiago (Restrepo) at Oklahoma may say the same thing. It was really two ugly sets. We made more errors than they did. We were hitting negative after two sets. Anytime you do that against a good team like Oklahoma, you're going to find yourself down 2-0. I was proud of the way the team bounced back in Set 3."
TU came out hot after the intermission scoring the nine of the first 13 points in the third stanza. OU cut the Golden Hurricane lead to six points, 14-8, but TU scored five of the next seven points to increase its lead to nine, 19-10. The Hurricane went on to win the set scoring two of the final three points to cut the Sooners match lead 2-1.
Tulsa had a 19-18 lead in the fourth set, but OU scored six of the next eight points to take a 24-21 lead. That's when TU made its comeback to tie the set at 24 and went on to tie the match at two to force a fifth set.
The final stanza saw the set tied at 13, and after an OU timeout, the Sooners scored the final two points to win the match.
The Hurricane recorded a season-high 97 digs, 61 of those digs came in the final three sets. TU also added 38 kills in the final three set and added 10.0 total blocks in the five set match.
"When you face adversity, play good teams, and fight the way we did, we're going to take some good things out of this," said McRoberts.
The Golden Hurricane travels to Norman, Okla., this weekend to play in the Nike Invitational. TU faces LIU Brooklyn at 4 p.m. on Friday. The Hurricane faces two opponents on Saturday with Miami, Fla., at 10 a.m. followed by Nebraska-Omaha at 4:30 p.m.
TU returns home Sept. 27 for an exhibition match against the Italian U23 at 5 p.m. in the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
For all Tulsa volleyball news and information, visit www.TulsaHurricane.com. Follow Tulsa Athletics on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TulsaHurricane and Facebook at www.facebook.com/TulsaHurricane. Follow Tulsa Volleyball on Twitter (www.twitter.com/TulsaVolleyball) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/TulsaVolleyball).
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