By Shehan Jeyarajah
The Bears scrimmage is free to the public and all students are encouraged to attend. Pizza will be provided after the game and fans will have the opportunity to meet the players after the game to receive autographed posters.
“The scrimmage is a great experience for our players and fans. The team will get to rehearse our game-day schedule and play in uniform for the first time,” Baylor head volleyball coach Jim Barnes said. “It certainly helps them get familiar with what we do on game day and get the nerves out playing in front of a crowd for the first time this season.”
The 2013 team is led by All-Big 12 First Team senior outside hitter and returning captain Zoe Adom, who led the Bears in Big 12 play with 199 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Thea Munch-Soegaard and senior libero Kayci Evans also return as starters.
The Bears have 12 returners and are joined by a heralded incoming freshmen class that ranked top 20 in the nation. Lewisville native and outside hitter Katie Staeger leads the stellar incomers.
“Katie Staeger, just remember that name,” Coach Barnes said. “She was the number three left-side hitter in the country coming out of her class and she’s impressed us. I think she’s going to break a lot of Baylor records. When you see how she hits the ball, you’ll know who she is right away.”
Zoe Adom is impressed with the new freshman recruits this season.
“We have some really good freshmen. Our coaches did a really good job recruiting last year so I’m excited to see how they perform with this team.”
The Bears have already been working hard for months in preparation for the season.
“We come in in incredible shape,” Coach Barnes said. “It was the first summer we had every player here for the entire summer. “
Senior Kayci Evans is excited for the depth and preparedness of this team.
“We’ve got a lot of girls who maybe didn’t start, but definitely played,” Evans said. “It’s been cool to see in practice that people are really stepping up and they’re ready to fill those open spots.”
Junior Nicole Bardaji will make the transition from outside hitter to middle hitter this season.
“We moved Nicole Bardaji in the middle,” Coach Barnes said. “She had by far the best spring on the team and she is now our starting middle. She is the fastest kid you could see.”
The Bears just missed out on the NCAA Tournament last season but Zoe Adom is clear on the direction of this season.
“Our motivation is within God right now, so we’re not really looking in the past,” Adom said. We’re looking to the future.”
The scrimmage will take place at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday at the Ferrell Center. The Bears begin their season this Friday on the road against Colorado State. The Baylor home opener is Sept. 3 against in-state rival SMU.