[portfolio_slideshow id=35314 showdesc=true exclude_featured=true]By Shehan Jeyarajah
The last time Baylor volleyball played SMU, their NCAA Tournament dreams were being dashed in a 3-1 loss in the season finale. This season Baylor (1-3) beat SMU (2-2) in straight sets 3-0.
Sophomore outside hitter Laura Jones led Baylor with 14 kills. She headlined the first set with seven kills and a hitting percentage of .875.
Sophomore middle hitter Adrian Richburg set a new Baylor hitting record with 10 kills on a perfect 1.000 hitting percentage. She also added seven block assists. She didn’t hide where she felt her success came from.
“Amy Rosenbaum, her sets are amazing,” Richburg said. “She has really grown since last year, coming off the bench and now starting. She’s the reason.”
Richburg was not the only one to rave about sophomore setter Amy Rosenbaum.
“Amy Rosenbaum did an awesome job of seeing the block,” Jones said. “Every time I wanted to hit, there was a single. The setting was just on point.
Rosenbaum finished with 46 assists overall on 51 kills.
“Amy Rosenbaum is an amazing setter,” senior outside hitter Zoe Adom said. “With those passes she got, we were able to go out there and just terminate. I’m so proud of her for coming out of that shell and being the setter that we all believe her to be.”
For SMU, junior outside hitter Caroline Young finished with 11 kills. Sophomore setter Avery Acker finished with 33 assists.
Baylor won the first set 25-17 behind a dominating performance from sophomore outside hitter Laura Jones, who finished with eight kills. For the set, Baylor hit .520 compared to SMU hitting .172.
Baylor was dominating the second set, leading 18-13 early on. Then SMU went on a furious run to take the lead, 22-23. SMU and Baylor traded points before SMU was up 24-25.
Baylor went on to win the next three points and win the set 27-25 behind two kills from Zoe Adom and a team block.
“It was big to get the second set,” Jones said. “We needed that win. After you lose one, you come out weaker in the next one.”
The third set was close, but Zoe Adom helped set the tone for the Bears.
The senior leader finished with four kills and a hitting percentage of .800.
Sophomore outside hitter Thea Munch-Soegaard and Laura Jones each finished with three kills in the deciding set. The final score of the set was 25-22.
Baylor hit .421 for the match compared to SMU hitting .208.
“That was the team I expect to see and better,” head coach Jim Barnes said. “We came out aggressive. Offensively, we passed well. Amy really distributed the ball well, they couldn’t tell where she was going. Our hitters hit like grown women tonight.”
Adom vehemently agreed with Coach Barnes.
“This is the team we expect, and more. We’re going to go to practice tomorrow and make sure we bring today’s game, and then some.”
Freshman outside hitter Katie Staiger missed this game with a knee injury she obtained against Cal Poly on Saturday. The knee injury could be serious enough to keep her out for the whole season.
“We were all heartbroken,” Jones said. “She’s such a great kid, and she works so hard. She’s one of the hardest workers on the team.
Richburg agreed with her teammate.
“It was really hard to deal with. We all started praying, and we knew it was God’s plan and things were going to work out.”
Even though Staiger could be out for the season, Adom does not see her effect diminishing from this team.
“Katie is such a hard player, she just goes out there and bangs the ball. [Senior libero] Kayci Evans was saying how we all need to bring that to the game. We need to keep her in the game as much as possible.”
Volleyball hosts the Baylor Classic this weekend and plays Tulsa on Friday night and faces both UT Arlington and Mississippi State on Saturday.