Volleyball defeats Tigers after winning three straight sets

By Krista Pirtle
Sports Writer

The Baylor volleyball team overcame a 2-0 set deficit to rally three straight, defeating Missouri 3-2 (23-25, 16-25, 25-18, 25-20, 15-9).

The comeback from down two sets was the third in Baylor volleyball since 2002.

The Tigers began the match with a lot momentum, cruising through the Bears in the first couple sets.

After the break, Baylor found itself down again.

A timeout from head coach Jim Barnes seemed to flip the switch, fueling the comeback.

“He just got straight to the point,” sophomore outside hitter Zoe Adom said. “We needed to work and come together at some point. Just do what we needed to do.”

Through two sets, Adom had seven kills, junior middle blocker Torri Campbell had six and senior middle blocker Briana Tolbert had four, but Adom and Campbell each finished with 17 and Tolbert racked up a career high with 18.

All three hit over .340 in the match, including Tolbert’s .441.

As a whole, Baylor’s offense hit over .300 in four of the five sets, with the exception of the second set, totaling a .289 hitting percentage with 69 total kills.

Junior setter Kate Harris, who transferred from Missouri after her freshman year, started her fourth match at setter and had her third career-high total of the season with 57 assists and adding 10 digs for a double-double.

For Missouri, sophomore outside-hitter Lisa Henning, who entered ranked fifth in the league in kills per set, racked up 27 kills, the highest total against Baylor this season.

Defensively, Baylor had six players record at least six digs, including senior libero Allison King’s team-high 19. Senior Qian Zhang added 17 digs, while sophomore Kayci Evans nine.

“We just started playing with heart,” Adom said. “We just started playing Baylor volleyball.”

In the first set, Baylor went on a 4-1 run to lead the Tigers 13-11, but Missouri took advantage of a Bears’ blocking error and scored 10 out of the next 14 points.

A Tiger service error and two Baylor blocks pulled the Bears to 24-23, but the Tigers prevailed with a kill.

The next set was one Baylor would want to soon forget.

The Bears led 12-11, but Missouri fought back to dominate the set.

Missouri’s momentum seemed unstoppable as it carried through halftime, landing it an 8-2 lead in the third set.

“After those first two sets, I felt like our juniors and seniors needed to step up, and they did,” Barnes said. “We just weren’t executing at all, and the seniors did kick in and play like seniors. We started serving them with more pace and got their server off the net, which turned out to be a big difference.”

Once Barnes flipped the switch, the Bears rallied on a 12-2 run, dominating with kills and taking advantage of Missouri errors.

“When we have a sense of urgency things get going and we don’t like them to stop,” Tolbert said. “We like to keep the momentum on our side, everybody giving each other energy not letting up at any point.”

Tolbert went to work in the fourth set with seven kills, and Adom responded to her teammate’s power at the net with a handful of kills in the fifth.

Baylor’s next match will end its four-match home stand but will be a nonconference game as it takes on the University of North Texas at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Baylor leads the series against the Mean Green 15-7. The two teams’ last meeting was in 2005, when the Bears won 3-0.