On Friday night, Tulsa traveled down Lewis Avenue to play cross-town rival Oral Roberts at ORU. Oral Roberts came into the game with a 5–4 record and was looking to get revenge for the loss handed to them by the Golden Hurricane last year.
ORU packed the Cooper Aerobics Center for the match, but Tulsa had a respectable group of fans make the trip to show their support.
Tulsa came into the match looking to end their four-game losing streak, and played strong throughout the match. Trailing 7–2 in the first set, Tulsa fought back to tie the score at 13 apiece before taking control of the set with a 25–22 win.
The second set went back and forth for a while, with the score being tied 10 different times during the first 14 points of the set. Junior Erica Bohannon recorded a kill to break the 14–14 tie, and the Hurricane maintained the lead through the rest of the set, taking the second 25–21.
The brooms were out in full force in the third set, as the Golden Hurricane looked to record their first sweep of the season. Once again tied in the middle of the set, this time 13–13, Tulsa rallied to take a 19–15 advantage before moving on to win the set 25–20, and the match, 3–0.
After the game, head coach Ryan Wills had this to say about the win: “I’m really happy with the way we bounced back from a rough weekend last weekend. We played pretty clean volleyball.”
“It was not our best volleyball, but it was consistent enough to allow us to be successful in three sets. I’m glad we competed how we can, and we’re excited to try and build on that consistency tomorrow to finish out the tournament.”
Tulsa looked to carry that momentum into their match with Houston Baptist University on Saturday morning. HBU was the only team to come into the tournament with a winning record, coming into the match with a 7–5 record on the season.
The Golden Hurricane carried their momentum from their win over ORU into the first set, taking an early 7–2 lead, and later a 14–6 lead. Junior Rebecca Reeve ended the first set on a service ace, giving Tulsa a 25–11 win in one of their most dominant sets of the season thus far.
The second set was much more contested, as Houston Baptist pushed on from an 11–11 tie to to take the second set 25–21, tying the match at one apiece moving into the intermission.
Tulsa once again took an early lead in the third set, and stretched it to a late 7-point lead late in the game. Houston fought back from the late deficit, bringing the score to 24–22 in Tulsa’s favor. Bohannon put an end to HBU’s rally with a kill to end the set 25–22.
The fourth set started off almost identically to the third set, with Tulsa running out to a 7–2 lead early on. After Houston Baptist called a timeout in an attempt to stop TU’s momentum, the Golden Hurricane continued to push on, extending their lead to seven once more, this time with a score of 14–7, forcing Houston Baptist to call their last timeout.
After HBU cut Tulsa’s lead to three late in the set, TU pulled away outscoring the Cougars 6–4 at the end of the set to win the set 25–20 and the match 3–1.
Bohannon led the Hurricane with 22 kills in the match, and junior libero, Brooke Berryhill, led the Hurricane defensively with a season-high 30 digs.
Tulsa faced off against the University of North Texas in the final match of the tournament on Saturday night, falling to the Mean Green in three sets. The first set was hotly contested, tied late 22–22, but North Texas pulled away for the 25–23 win.
The second set saw Tulsa trailing early, before battling to bring the score with five late in the set. But North Texas went on to win the second set 25–18 and take a 2–0 advantage into the intermission.
Trailing early again in the third set, Tulsa battled to make the score 12–9, but North Texas pushed to a seven-point lead before scoring seven of the final eight points to win the set 25–12, and the match 3–0.
Wills talked about the Golden Hurricane’s performance in the tournament as well as the tough pre-conference schedule that they had this season.
“We got better this weekend and went 2–1, but we didn’t have the stamina to finish out how we needed. We played extremely well Friday night against a good ORU team, and got a victory in three sets at their place. Then we came in this morning and grinded out a win over Houston Baptist.”
“We played a good North Texas team tonight, with one of the best players in the country. Systematically they did some things that took us out of the system offensively, and we didn’t deal with it very well.”
“One of the things we talked about going into the season, is this is probably the toughest pre-conference schedule we’ve ever played as a program. From top to bottom, we didn’t have any matches off.”
“We just talked about staying together and getting better. There are a lot of things we can work on. We start conference play next week, and everyone is 0–0, and it’s time for us to go compete for a championship like Tulsa does.”
With these three games, Tulsa has finished their non-conference schedule with a record of 5–7. They start their second season in the American Athletic Conference next week on the road against Tulane, Houston and SMU, before returning to Tulsa on Oct. 4 to play East Carolina.