photos by Tanner Brown

Tulsa Volleyball: the reign before the storm

Tulsa hosts invitational volleyball tournament and goes undefeated.

Last weekend, Tulsa hosted the Tulsa Volleyball Invitational, the third out of four tournaments before conference play commences.

Tulsa won all three matches against its opponents: Abilene Christian University, Northwestern State and in town rival Oral Roberts University (ORU).

Friday’s match was against Abilene. After dropping the first set (26-24), Tulsa had a comeback with leadership from Rachel Moore, who had seven kills in the second set (25-20). Abilene managed to pull away in the third frame, 25-21. You could feel the storm build in the fourth as Tulsa took the set 25-20. Tulsa headed into the fifth set for the first time this season with a mighty roar that did not go unheard; Tulsa won the match 15-13.

Tulsa swept Northwestern off their feet to ultimate defeat this week. Emily Thorson was an influential player in these sets earning 12 kills, two aces and one block. Not too far behind was Rachel Moore with 11 kills and one ace. The two combined forces to clinch the first frame, 25-23. The second set alternated hands until the last half. Tulsa rallied from 17-19 to take the frame (25-22).

While Tulsa dropped the second set with a two ace closeout by ORU, the team was ultimately victorious. During this face-off, Moore was named the MVP of the tournament, but it was Mariah Pardo who had the highest attack average throughout the match (.625). Taylor Horsfall also had 25 digs of the 71 in the victory over the Golden Eagles.

When Tulsa Hurricane Video asked Head Coach Ryan Willis to recap the invitational and its most influential players, he said, “I’m happy with our growth. We struggled at times, figured out some stuff, people stepped up. We got better at blocking as things went, got better at defense as things went. So it’s just a good tournament for us to get better at some stuff, and that’s what we’re working on. Proud as can be, and I’m proud of our whole team. They did a good job. You know Rachel, all year long, has been an offensive weapon for us. She hits hard. It’s hard for people to defend. And then Taylor… she makes plays, she digs the ball. I think there was twice today that there’s no one up at the net so someone goes to rip at it and she makes a play.”

This weekend is just a taste of what the Tulsa volleyball team has in store. As a team, Tulsa recorded 60 kills and a solid .243 hitting percentage. These matches could just be the “reign” before the storm. Tulsa volleyball heads to the Marquette Invitational next week.

photos by Tanner Brown

Post Author: Tristan Peterson