By Cody Soto
Baylor volleyball suffered its first loss of the season Saturday night after Portland (2-1) swept the Bears in three sets (25-19, 29-27, 25-20). This was Portland’s second victory since going 0-27 in the 2013 season.
Baylor (2-1) struggled offensively and only hit .178 as a team and posted 43 kills with 19 errors opposed to Portland’s .231 attack percentage. Junior outside hitter Andie Malloy led all hitters with 20 kills in the match and contributed nine digs. Outside of Malloy, no other hitters for Baylor posted double-digit kills.
“Portland came out really strong from the beginning,” senior libero Hope Ogden said. “We’ve been starting slow this tournament so I think we really just need to get out there and take our best shots and stay in it. We started out too flat and weren’t able to recover.”
Junior setter Amy Rosenbaum finished with 23 assists, followed by sophomore setter Morgan Reed with 11 of her own. Baylor also struggled defensively and posted 57 digs compared to Portland’s 68 digs. Portland had zero serve-receive errors compared to the Bears’ seven errors to help with the win.
“Their backcourt really stepped up,” Ogden said. “They were taking our best shots and really were just hitting it right back to us. We would hit it to them and they would pop it right back up in the middle of the court and take one back at us. Big credit to them, they played great defense.”
Baylor hit a mere .070 in the first set, which caused them to play from behind for a majority of the set. Ogden’s serve-receive error gave Portland the 25-19 win in the first set.
“We relied too much on Andie and she did a great job, but the rest of the team including myself didn’t take advantage of the situations that we were given,” junior outside hitter Thea Munch-Soegaard said. “We have to take a step back when [the other team] is setting the tempo, stay calm and relax, and do what we know how to do and refocus and put them on their toes.”
The Bears stepped it up in the second set and got to three set points before suffering from service and hitting errors to allow the Pilots to head into the locker room with a 2-0 lead in the match and a 29-27 second set win.
Baylor continued to fight in the third set with a kill by Munch-Soegaard to start the set. However, after leading 11-10 in the set, Portland went on a 7-2 run and maintained the lead for the rest of the set. It finished off the set with a 25-20 win and a sweep for the match win.
“It’s a wake-up call,” Munch-Soegaard said. “We are a Big 12 team, and people are out to get us. We have to use this as a learning lesson that we can’t take a team for granted.”
Baylor also faced Texas A&M Corpus Christi Saturday morning where they took the Islanders to four sets after dropping the opening set, 25-27. Baylor then took ahold of the match and finished the match with a 4-set win (25-27, 25-20, 25-20, 25-22). Baylor held the Islanders to a .093 hitting percentage, the second straight opponent the Bears held under a .100 attack percentage.
Three players posted double-doubles for Baylor with Andie Malloy contributing 19 kills and 16 digs, followed by Rosenbaum with 30 assists and 15 digs, and sophomore outside hitter Katie Staiger with 10 kills and 18 digs.
Malloy and sophomore middle hitter Tola Itiola were named to the All-Tournament team for the Baylor Invitational.
The Bears will play host to Rice at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Ferrell Center.
“Rice is a really good team,” Ogden said. “We have a big fire lit under us, so we are going to talk about what we did wrong this match, come together, push each other, and get each other ready for Rice on Tuesday.”