By Cody Soto
Baylor volleyball kicked off its 2014 season with its annual Green and Gold Scrimmage in front of a home crowd at the Ferrell Center Tuesday night. This is the first time Baylor returned to the floor since the team’s 3-0 loss to Texas Nov. 30 in Austin.
The intrasquad scrimmage was the final test for the team before they take on Abilene Christian in their first match on Friday.
Although named “green vs. gold,” the gold team dubbed white jerseys during the match. The “white” team pulled ahead quickly, taking advantage of several unforced errors by the “green” team, leading 15-9 going into the first timeout.
The first set was the highest set attack percentage of the night with both teams hitting .222 and .296, respectively. The “white” team held their lead and took the first set 25-21.
The second set, however, there was a shift in momentum on the floor. The “green” team went on a 5-0 run to force a timeout from the “white” team, leading 10-5. Seven unforced errors crippled the “white” team and held them to a .075 attacking percentage, causing them to drop the set 20-25 to the “green” team after a kill by senior outside hitter Nicole Bardaji ended the set.
Both teams exchanged the first 16 points, tying it up at 8-8. Junior outside hitter Laura Jones helped tie the game up once again at 22-22 after contributing two huge blocks with sophomore middle hitter Tola Itiola. The “green” team went on a 3-0 run to close out the match to win the final set 25-22.
Bardaji led all hitters with 13 kills, followed by contributions by junior outside hitters Thea Munch-Soegaard and Andie Malloy with 12 each. This was the first time Malloy entered a match for Baylor after she was forced to sit out one year after transferring from Iowa State.
“Andie was ready to play,” head coach Jim Barnes said. “She put away some big kills for us. She gets some kills when she’s 8 or 9 feet off the net, and that’s what we just haven’t had that in the past. She’s a special player and I know she had a blast.”
Itiola also had a strong showing with five blocks at the net. Both teams ended the night with .281 and .143 hitting percentages, respectively. Following the scrimmage, Baylor fans were able to get signed posters and interact with the team.
This match was used to get the nerves out and see different line-ups for the upcoming season, according to Barnes.
“The girls learned some things to work on for Friday such as to start faster,” he said. “We are going to get a lot of information to get us ready for the season and see where we are overall against an opponent.”
Baylor volleyball will host the Hampton Inn Waco North Baylor Invitational this weekend and officially open its season on Friday, Aug. 29 against Abilene Christian followed by two matches on Saturday, Aug. 30 against Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Portland at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. All matches will take place at the Ferrell Center.