By: Nathan Keil | Sports Writer
The Baylor volleyball team got itself back on the winning track Wednesday night in record-breaking fashion. The Bears defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders in four sets, 25-19, 25-20, 21-25, 25-22.
Redshirt junior outside hitter Katie Staiger continued her successful season by tallying a career-high 31 kills and contributed 13 digs. Junior libero Jana Brusek recorded a career-high 32 digs for the Bears.
“I was happy to see some good individual performances,” head coach Ryan McGuyre said. “Katie gets over 30 kills, and Jana did a great job for us defensively. It’s good to see Nicole [Thomas] hitting well and getting more kills.”
The first two sets were competitive, but Baylor used late pushes to close out the Red Raiders in both sets. In the first set, it was the strong defensive effort at the net by Aniah Philo and Thomas, as they recorded blocks to solidify the first set win. Staiger managed to notch 12 kills in the second set.
The Red Raiders responded with a strong third set in an effort that head coach Tony Graystone was hoping to see from the beginning of the match.
“Tonight, we were slow to get started. We’ve got to show fight from point one,” Graystone said on Texas Tech’s official athletic website. “If we would have started the first two sets as strong as we played the third and fourth, we would still be playing right now.”
Texas Tech turned the third set over to its defense. Even though the Red Raiders fell behind early, they charged their way back into the set with a 7-1 run and a strong performance from its defense. The defense began to create problems for the Bears at the net, forcing them into attack errors and thanks to a solid effort from Red Raiders sophomore defensive specialist Reyn Akiu, who recorded a career-high 33 digs. After hitting 41 percent and 30 percent clips for the first two sets, the Red Raiders held the Bears to a 1 percent clip in the third.
Baylor would not be denied in the fourth set as they used a 7-2 run to close out Texas Tech, earning Baylor their 19th win of the season.
As pleased as McGuyre was with some of the individual performances of his team, the thing that stuck out to him the most was his team’s ability to return serves. For the first time this season, Baylor did not allow one service ace.
“For the first time our offense really carried us at times tonight. Glad we went four sets with an ace,” McGuyre said. “That just helps feed into our offensive numbers.”
Baylor will take on the Texas Longhorns next at Gregory Gymnasium in Austin on Wednesday, Nov. 9. The Bears will look to avenge a four set loss to the Longhorns back on October 12. The match is set to begin at 7 pm.