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By Shehan Jeyarajah
Baylor volleyball began Big 12 conference play with a straight-set rout at the hands of No. 25 Iowa State in Ames. The Bears lost 25-14, 25-19, 25-17 in front of a crowd of 2,555 to fall to 8-9 on the season and 0-1 in Big 12 play.
Sophomore outside hitter Laura Jones was the bright spot for Baylor on an otherwise tough day. She finished with 10 kills on a .348 hitting percentage. Other than Jones, senior outside hitter Zoe Adom finished with nine kills. No other player had over five. For the match, Baylor had a hitting percentage of .198.
Sophomore right side hitter Mackenzie Bigbee led Iowa State with 11 kills on a .385 hitting percentage. Junior outside hitter Victoria Hurtt was right behind her with 10 kills on a .375 hitting percentage. Sophomore setter Jenelle Hudson had an all-around match 39 assists, seven digs, three aces and a kill.
Baylor was dominated in the first set by Iowa State, hitting only .077 and allowing the Cyclones to hit .385, including 14 kills. In the set, Iowa State never trailed or tied. The set was won on a five-point streak by the Cyclones that took the match from 19-13 to 24-13.
Baylor had a much better effort in the second set, taking an early 6-9 lead. They held the lead until Iowa State tied the set up at 15-15, and the Cyclones would go on a 10-4 run to take the set. Baylor hit .289 for the set and held Iowa State to .238, but could not pull out the set.
The third set was tight early until Iowa State tied it at 10-10. After that, Iowa State went on a massive 10-1 run to put the set out of reach. After the offensive explosion in set two, Baylor hit .190 with five attack errors, and allowed the Cyclones to hit .351 with only two errors.
The Bears finished with 44 total digs, but no one player had double-digit digs. Iowa State out-dug Baylor 57-44 in the three-set match. The Cyclones also forced Baylor into 30 total errors while committing only 16 themselves. While typically a strong blocking team, Baylor only had 2.0 total team blocks for the match.
Sophomore outside hitter Thea Munch-Soegaard missed her fourth straight match with an undisclosed foot injury. Junior outside hitter Jordan Teel has played better than expected in her place, but struggled against Iowa State with zero kills, six digs and six errors for 0.0 points. It is still uncertain when Munch-Soegaard will return; head volleyball coach Jim Barnes has said she is day-to-day.
With the win, Iowa State extended its win streak against Baylor to eight matches. The Cyclones have won 14 of the last 15 matches against Baylor, and lead the all-time series 19-18.
Baylor volleyball plays the defending national champion Texas Longhorns on at 8 p.m. Wednesday night in Waco. The match will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.