By Shehan Jeyarajah
Baylor volleyball will look to rebound from its 1-5 start in Big 12 play tonight against conference rival Kansas State. The Bears are losers of two straight against Texas Christian and Oklahoma, and sit at an overall record of 9-13. Kansas State comes into the match with a record of 14-5 and 2-4 in the Big 12.
Senior outside hitter Zoe Adom leads Baylor with 3.08 kills per set. That ranks ninth in the Big 12. Sophomore setter Amy Rosenbaum is sixth in the Big 12 in assists per set with 9.98 assists per set. Sophomore libero Mackenzie Mayo is ninth in the conference with 3.36 digs per set.
“After the practice and game we had, we’re hungry for a win,” Mayo said. “It’s hard to stop things from spiraling, but we just have to stay confident.”
It was announced that usual starting sophomore outside hitter Thea Munch-Soegaard sustained a foot injury in practice leading up to the Oklahoma match. The injury will keep her out 6-8 weeks, likely ending her season. Munch-Soegaard missed four matches earlier in the season with a separate foot injury.
In her place, head volleyball coach Jim Barnes has elected to start junior outside hitter Jordan Teel. Teel came into this season without having played a match in her first two years at Baylor. In 19 sets so far, Teel has 13 kills and 42 digs. Her 2.21 digs per set is second on the team among outside hitters, behind only Munch-Soegaard.
“It’s so hard to see Thea go down for the second time in the season,” Teel said. “But this team makes it easy to step in and contribute. We’re all so close and are so comfortable with each other. I’m thankful for an opportunity to contribute with my teammates.”
Barnes noted as well that junior middle hitter Nicole Bardaji has been taking reps as the left-side hitter in place of Munch-Soegaard.
“We’ve got another player out of the lineup, we have to adjust,” Barnes said. “The girls are working hard to right to ship. They have the talent to do it, but it will just take some time to adjust to the new changes.”
For Kansas State, senior middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 20 after posting 15 kills on a .406 hitting percentage against conference rival Texas Tech. In conference play, she is third in the conference averaging 3.73 kills per set.
Senior defensive specialist Trista McCarty leads Kansas State with 3.33 digs per set. Pelger is second on the team with 2.56 digs per set. Redshirt freshman setter Katie Brand averages 10.12 assists per set and has amassed 729 assists on the season.
Baylor volleyball will play Kansas State at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Ferrell Center. Baylor will also be conducting its annual “Pink Day,” an AVCA initiative to raise awareness for breast cancer. The first 300 fans in the building will receive a free pink Baylor Volleyball t-shirt, and a local vendor will be providing free pink manicures beginning one hour before the match.