“All three are special people with big personalities,” Gray-Walton said. “It’s something I’m so excited for our fans to see this fall. This team has a hunger and passion to get things done, which has been a point of focus this offseason.”
Oliver, a 6-1 center tackle from Orangeburg, SC, joins the Sooners as a graduate transfer from Cincinnati. She played 69 games over three seasons for the Bearcats and was named to the 2021 All-AAC Second Team (spring season due to COVID-19) following her junior campaign.
“Adria is a coach’s kid,” Gray-Walton said. “She understands the demands of both sides, so you see that in the enthusiasm and pace she brings to everything she does. On top of that, she’s proven herself on the pitch within a extremely efficient team.”
In his final season in Cincinnati, Oliver went 72 sets in 24 matches and recorded 131 takedowns and 47 blocks. She ranked eighth in the United States in hitting percentage (.320) and recorded double-digit wins in five games.
Oliver was named to the AAC Weekly Honor Roll after her performances against Wichita State (11/19) and Tulsa (11/21). She had 10 kills and two blocks against the Shockers and 12 kills against the Hurricane.
During the shortened COVID-19 campaign, Oliver appeared in 12 matches and racked up 111 eliminations and 40 blocks. She averages 2.26 kills and 0.85 blocks per set.
“It was fun to watch her leadership as a sixth grader evolve over the short summer, which was a big goal for her coming to Oklahoma,” Gray-Walton noted. “Adria is a fearless competitor and someone we’re happy to be on our side of the net. You need that to win regularly, which we hope to do in the future.”
Oliver started her college career at Clemson and went 75 sets in the 2018 season. She finished with 125 takedowns and 66 blocks in 26 matches.
Thompson, a 5-9 defensive specialist from Tulsa, Okla., played for Booker T. Washington High School and the Ultimate Performance Volleyball Club. She appeared in 199 sets and recorded 628 assists, 438 digs, and 122 service aces during her high school career. Thompson averaged 3.2 assists, 2.2 digs and 0.6 aces per set.
“Tulsa homegrown talent…we always want to recruit the best in our state and each is in their respective positions,” Gray-Walton said. “Add to their thirst for learning, pursuit of success and love for the team, it’s easy to see why Sydney and Beth have made our program better.”
Bayless, a 6-1 outside hitter from Tulsa, Okla., played for Regent Preparatory School and Oklahoma Peak Performance. During her senior campaign at MCA, she had 740 kills, 267 digs, 77 assists, 61 aces and 18 blocks. Bayless was named the 2021 Pinnacle Conference Most Valuable Player.
Oklahoma opens the 2022 season with the Crimson & Cream exhibition on Saturday August 13 and begins the regular season on Friday August 26 against Gonzaga at McCasland Field House.
“Our gym depth is better than ever this fall,” Gray-Walton noted. “It speaks to alignment with our program’s vision of striving to always be in the top 10.” We’ll have to rely on the sum of our parts more than ever this year with the RPI-filled preseason and Big 12-heavy regular season in order to make a deep run in December. We believe it is possible and we will continue to do what is necessary to make it happen.”
Season ticket deposits for the 2022 season are $25 and can be deposited here.