This time the Golden Hurricane had to beat UC Martin, Central Arkansas and Arkansas State. In the entire weekend, Tulsa lost one set and swept two of the games.
The first game against UC Martin was one of those sweeps, and the Golden Hurricane dominated all three sets. The smallest margin of victory for the Golden Hurricane was seven points in the third and final set. In fact, not only did they win every set comfortably by scores of 25–16, 25–17 and 25–18, they also never trailed in the match and outhit UC Martin 0.255 to 0.088.
The second match against Central Arkansas was the closest of the weekend, but the Golden Hurricane still won it in four sets. After trading the first two sets, Tulsa took control in the third and fourth. Head Coach Ryan Wills said after the match, “we got aggressive in sets three and four, we started hitting our spots a little bit more. From an attacking perspective, we kept it away from their block. We hit our holes, hit down the line, hit the angles. We just were a little more aggressive and a little more decisive in where we were attacking. The sets were in a little better location was part of it also.”
The final of the tournament was another sweep for the Golden Hurricane, but this one came down to the wire, with each and every set being decided by two points. The first set set the tone for the match as the lead changed six different times, and the score was tied 11 total times.
“It [the early attacking] set the tone. We averaged over 16 kills a set in the match. We were executing at a high level and took advantage of some weaknesses in their defense and it allowed us to have success. Our attackers made good choices and stayed aggressive. We could’ve been a little more efficient as the match unfolded, but we started off on fire offensively. As the match wore on our defense stepped up,” Wills said.
The second and third sets were similarly back and forth, but Tulsa held on to win both sets and the match.
“We’re playing hard, we’re playing with grit,” Wills said. “Our kids are doing the right things, making the right choices, practicing hard. They love the big moments. There were three two-point sets, but they enjoy that and they play hard. That’s the number one thing you ask as a coach.”
Brooke Berryhill was named the All-Tournament MVP and Trinity Aluala was named to the All-Tournament Team. The Golden Hurricane will play in their last tournament prior to conference play when they host the Tulsa Volleyball Invitational next weekend. Their first game will be against Oral Roberts University on Friday, and they will play Northwestern State and Louisiana Tech on Saturday morning and night respectively.