By Shehan Jeyarajah
Coming off of a 3-0 sweep at Kansas, Baylor needed to show something to salvage this season at home against Iowa State. Unfortunately, the Bears were unable to find the winning formula as Iowa State (14-6, 8-2) overpowered Baylor (11-15, 3-7) in straight sets: 25-16, 25-16, 25-16.
Trouble started for Baylor right from the get-go. After taking a 2-1 lead in the first set, Iowa State would pull ahead 3-2 and never relinquish the lead. Baylor would pull the set to within 8-11, but Iowa State would go on a 6-2 run to power to a 10-17 lead. The Bears hit .000 for the set, and had seven kills to go with 12 total errors. The Bears had only five total assists in the set.
“We couldn’t click our offense in,” senior outside hitter Zoe Adom said. “We looked timid from the beginning, and that kind of hindered us from scoring. It created problems for us. We couldn’t get in a rhythm.”
In the second set, Coach Barnes tried to counter Baylor’s offensive woes by inserting sophomore setter Amy Rosenbaum in place of freshman Morgan Reed. The offense picked up, as Baylor finished with 10 kills in the set. However, after digging close in the second set 17-16, Baylor allowed Iowa State to out-dig them 28-13. Throughout the season, digs have been one of the clearest indicators of success for Baylor.
The second set was tied seven times early before Iowa State took the lead 8-10. The Cyclones would never trail after that. Baylor would cut it to 11-16, but Iowa State would finish on a 9-5 run to win the set 25-16.
“Every part of the game was not connecting the way we would have liked it to,” freshman middle hitter Tola Itiola said. “If we passed the ball, we didn’t put the ball away. We did a good job when we got it going, but we allowed way too many runs.”
The third set started with yet another run against Baylor. The Cyclones went out to a quick 2-6 lead. Baylor then went on a run to tie the set at 8-8, but Iowa State would go to work from there. Baylor would get within two at 12-14 before Iowa State pulled away for good. The Cyclones finished the match on an 11-4 run to win 25-16.
Sophomore outside hitter Laura Jones led Baylor with six kills, 11 digs and three blocks. Junior outside hitter Nicole Bardaji finished with six kills and eight digs. No other Bears finished with more than five kills. Jones was also the only player in double-digit digs. The Bears as a team were out-dug 71-49.
For the match, Baylor finished with a hitting percentage of only .056. This is well below Baylor’s season average of .184. In the three set match, Baylor finished with only 20 total assists for 6.67 assists per set. On the season, they are averaging 11.26 assists per set.
“What happened on the offensive end? Not much,” head volleyball coach Jim Barnes said. “We couldn’t get anything going offensively. They’re a good offensive team, so we have to play sharp offensively. Unfortunately, nobody stepped up.”
Kansas sophomore middle blocker Tory Knuth dominated Baylor with 10 kills and four blocks on a .643 hitting percentage. Sophomore setter Jenelle Hudson posted a double-double for the Jayhawks with 16 digs and 31 assists. Senior Kansas libero Kristen Hahn led the match with 26 digs. The Cyclones finished with eight aces.
The Bears will look to get back in the win column at 1 p.m. Saturday in a road match against Texas Christian. The Bears will then return home at 7 p.m. on Nov. 13 to play Texas Tech at the Ferrell Center.