Volleyball brings Vegas title home

By Krista Pirtle
Sports Writer

What happens in Vegas won’t be staying in Vegas but coming back to Waco for the rest of the 2011 season.

Over the weekend, Baylor volleyball (10-3) won the UNLV Classic while three Bears brought home individual awards.

Freshman Adri Nora was named tournament MVP while seniors Allison King and Briana Tolbert were named to the all-tournament team.
Their first match of the weekend was a sweep against San Francisco 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-17.)

“This was a crucial match for us in the aspect that we needed to bounce back and execute the things we have been working on,” head coach Jim Barnes said. “San Francisco is a good team and has beaten a couple of really good opponents, so this win is important for us from an RPI standpoint.”

Nora played the best game of her career, recording a high of 16 kills. Junior Torri Campbell and Tolbert assisted her on the front with 10 and 7 kills each as Baylor outhit San Francisco .275 to .062.

“Adri continues to improve and this was a dominant performance from her,” Barnes said. “They couldn’t stop her. As just a freshman, if she continues to improve, she is going to be a big-time player for us.”

Baylor bounced back from a 3-0 loss to TCU as it controlled this matchup with 60 digs and 10 blocks on the defensive side, led by Allison King’s 19 blocks and Campbell’s six block assists. Senior setter Brittany Ridenour added 14 digs with 35 assists, making her sixth double-double of the season.

Baylor’s second match saw another sweep, this time against Fresno State 3-0 (25-9, 25-20, 25-21.)

The Bears hit over .250 on offense and held their opponent under .100. Nora had another solid match, leading Baylor with 10 kills and hitting .444 with just two errors in 18 attempts. Tolbert added nine kills and Alyssa Dibbern recorded six.

“We are continuing to work on our service game, and we are slowly making progress,” Barnes said. “If we can serve tough and get a team out of sync offensively, we’ll have really good success. When we put them in bad positions with our serve, we were able to get our block going.”

On defense, King notched 16 of the team’s 45 digs, while Tolbert led with one solo block and three block assists as part of the team’s 10.0.

The final match of the tournament stretched out to five sets against the host UNLV, but the Bears came out on top 3-2 (25-23, 20-25, 25-18, 16-25, 15-12.)
Baylor had to make big comebacks in the first and fifth sets, falling behind 23-20 and 8-2 respectively.

“UNLV played great, so my hat’s off to them,” Barnes said. “They really pushed us, and we had to put together a great team effort to win. We made a couple nice runs at the end of that last set that we really needed. I thought Brittany did a tremendous job keeping the team steady all weekend, and I was proud of Zoe (Adom) coming off the bench to get us some important points.”

Offensively, Dibbern recorded a career-high 15 kills to lead four players with at least 10 kills. Tolbert and Campbell each racked up 11, while Adom came off the bench midway through second set to spark the offense with 10 kills.

Ridenour had one of the best matches of her career as well, notching a career-best eight kills, while adding 48 assists and 12 digs, making her seventh double double of the season.

On defense, Zhang had a career-high performance with 22 digs and six kills with zero errors, while King added 20 digs. At the net, Tolbert had five total blocks, while Dibbern added three.

Baylor opens conference play against Oklahoma (13-3) 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Ferrell Center.

Last season Baylor lost both its matches against Oklahoma. The Bears lost their home game 3-1 and the away game 3-2 against OU.