An historic conference slate for the 14th-ranked West Virginia volleyball team will come to an end after a two-game stretch against Oklahoma in Norman. The action starts Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. ET and will be shown on FOX Sports Oklahoma.
This banner year for the Mountaineers comes in the wake of the most unprecedented offseason in program history. After the COVID-19 pandemic jeopardized the season itself, Coach Reed Sunahara’s squad was faced with a truncated and altered schedule that presented a new and unique challenge for the team.
Through it all, the team never lost focus.
“Everyone bought in to what we were doing, everyone worked hard and it’s tough to predict what’s going to happen,” Sunahara said. “But, did I predict this? I don’t know. I don’t know if we would have had a season or not….And now, here we are, two games away from finishing the season. It’s been a great ride for us, I’m happy.”
While the coach is clearly proud of his team’s exports on the court, he says his biggest source of pride comes from his team staying COVID-free through the whole season.
The season-ending series with the Sooners will cap off a banner year for the program. West Virginia (7-7) has achieved their highest win total in Big 12 play since joining the conference, and could secure its second winning season since Sunahara joined the program in 2015.
“We’ve gotta take care of business, that’s the whole thing,” Sunaraha said. “That’s the message this week — well, not just this week, but every week — and the players have done a nice job of staying focused and making sure that they’re getting better every day.”
The Sooners are on the tail end of a down year. With a 2-9 record, they will finish their first losing season since 2017, which ironically, was the last season WVU had a winning record.
“Oklahoma’s a good team,” Sunahara said. “They’re always good historically, and it’ll be a challenge.”
To get the wins, the Mountaineers will need some strong performances out of their top players, including emerging freshman star Skye Stokes. The native of Chester, West Virginia has been WVU’s top server, which showed in their Texas series when she posted six service aces.
“She’s a volleyball player, she’s a baller,” Sunahara said. “She understands the game, her IQ is very high and I’m happy to see that she’s having a good year.”
Both matches get underway at 7 p.m. ET on FOX Sports Oklahoma.