Written by: Matt Hanifan
The Nevada Wolf Pack women’s volleyball team split their two matchups in the Oklahoma Tournament — their final of four non-conference tournaments — over the weekend.
The Pack, who have now picked up all six of their wins over their last eight contests, got swept by the Oklahoma Sooners on Friday before sweeping the winless Texas Southern Tigers Saturday morning.
Coming off a dominant California Tournament a week ago, where she recorded a team-most 49 kills, Kayla Afoa led Nevada in kills over the two games with 27. That included a game-high 15 kills on 35 total attacks on Saturday, marking the third time she recorded 15 or more kills at a 30.0 percent clip or better this season.
On Friday, Nevada lost the three sets 25-13, 25-19 and 25-18. It was the second time it’s been swept all the season, the first coming on Aug. 27 against Middle Tennessee State.
Oklahoma jumped out to a 12-4 lead. Nevada cut the first set lead to eight before the Sooners scored the final four points to close the set. The final two sets were much closer — including it being a one-point game midway through the final set — though Nevada was never able to capture the lead against the Big 12 foe.
Nevada, however, flipped the script Saturday. It outscored the Tigers 25-21, 25-10 and 25-23, which was also its second sweep through its first 11 games.
After not trailing over the first two sets, it was a little dicey for the Pack in the final set, falling down 6-3. Though it scored six of the next seven points and didn’t trail the remainder of the set. It widened the lead to 23-17 before nearly relinquishing it, but Afoa’s final touch capped off its sixth victory of the season.
As it enters Mountain West play, Nevada — who was projected to finish last in the conference before the season, per the preseason poll — currently sits at 6-5 after going 3-29 all of last year. While it’s still one game above .500, it still the fourth-worst record among 11 teams in the Mountain West. The Pack is only ahead of Fresno State, Wyoming and San Diego State; they were projected to finish No. 9, No. 7 and No. 8 in the conference’s preseason poll, respectively.
Nevada looks to pad its record against Fresno State and San Diego State this week, traveling to Fresno to begin its two-game road trip on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. PT.
Matt Hanifan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @PackCenterNV.