By Cody Soto
Baylor volleyball kicked off its 2014 season with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-8) win over Abilene Christian at the Ferrell Center as part of the Hampton Inn Waco North Baylor Invitational Friday evening.
The Bears (1-0) hit .407 as a team, and outside hitters Andie Malloy and Adrien Richburg led the team with 10 kills apiece. Richburg hit .833 on 12 attempts with no errors and Malloy hit a respectable .300 in her first game in a Baylor uniform after sitting out last season due to Big 12 transfer rules.
“It feels great to be back on the court,” Malloy said. “[This game] was a good start to the season, and we can build, learn, and improve from it and work on fine tuning little things. We were focused and really getting after it tonight.”
Junior setter Amy Rosenbaum posted 19 assists, followed by sophomore setter Morgan Reed with 12 assists.
“[The hitters] are very versatile and I can set anyone because I know they’re going to put the ball away,” Rosenbaum said. “We are really performing well in practice and being very flexible.”
In the first set, Baylor started out strong and held a 13-6 lead going into the first timeout. The team was held to three set points before junior outside hitter Thea Munch-Soegaard posted a kill to end the set, 25-15.
Baylor continued to stay strong in the beginning of the second set and led 6-1. The Wildcats then went on a 6-2 run to shave off Baylor’s 5-point lead to two points. The Bears ended the set 25-20 with a frontcourt block by Richburg and senior outside hitter Nicole Bardaji.
“We’re trying to create runs, and we are trying to make sure we never give up runs as well,” head coach Jim Barnes said. “We’ve got to jump on blocking earlier in the sets, that’s one of our strengths. We didn’t have many in the first two sets tonight.”
The Bears took control of the third set and jumped out to a 9-2 lead early. Baylor held on to a comfortable lead and won the set 25-8 to sweep Abilene Christian in its 2014 season opener. The Bears hit .542 in the final set compared to the Wildcats’ -.111 hitting percentage.
“We played with great energy and focus,” Barnes said. “Every person on this team’s energy was right, the focus was right, and that’s what makes a special team.”
Baylor will face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and will close the tournament against Portland at 7 p.m. All matches will be played at the Ferrell Center.