Volleyball set for Lubbock, Big 12

By Krista Pirtle
Sports Writer

After a conveniently timed weekend off for Baylor volleyball, the team is fresh and energized for the rest of its season.

Baylor entered the break with back-to-back losses to Iowa State and Texas. After this break, the Bears face each Big 12 team again for round two of conference play.

“We are focused on making the second half of the season better than the first half,” head coach Jim Barnes said. “We took two days off in a row. It gave us time to get some wrinkles out. This is the most healthy I’ve had a team up to this point.”

The players had time to hang out with friends or go home over the weekend, something they really have not had a chance to do.

“It was definitely needed to have a different mindset coming into the second half of the conference,” senior libero Allison King said. “The first round we were consistent in some areas and inconsistent in others. I think we have a good chance to beat teams we lost to.”

In conference play, the Bears only recorded a trio of victories, against Texas Tech, Kansas and Missouri.

In the second half of the season, the Bears will host Kansas State, Texas A&M and Iowa State, hoping the Ferrell Center will offer a helping hand.

As Big 12 teams begin the second half of their seasons as well, the standings are as follows: Iowa State and Texas tied for first at 7-1, Oklahoma (6-2), Texas A&M (5-3), Kansas State (4-4), Missouri and Baylor (3-5), Kansas (1-7) and Texas Tech (0-8)

Baylor comes back from the break with a road trip Wednesday to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech.

The Bears swept Tech in early October in three straight sets.

But the advantage of playing in the friendly confines of the Ferrell Center will not be there this time.

The Red Raiders tend to pick up their game when they play in Lubbock.

Even though Tech has yet to find a win in conference play, it has taken both Oklahoma and Texas A&M to five sets at home, losing each by just two points in the fifth set.

Consequently, the Bears have not overlooked their upcoming match at all.

“We know we aren’t going to go there and have a cake walk,” Barnes said.

Baylor has won the last 13 consecutive meetings with Texas Tech, winning six in a row in Lubbock since 2004.

In the most recent meeting earlier this month, the Bears outhit Tech .260-.175; however, Tech won at the front of the net with 11 blocks.

“We don’t take any opponent lightly,” senior middle blocker Briana Tolbert said. “We just have to stop their hitters and hit around their block. They’re very scrappy on defense. We have to make sure we don’t get frustrated and keep our heads up.”

Baylor’s energy and passion should be increased after getting the most rest gotten all season.

“Knowing that we are fresh gives us the mindset that we are going to take control of the match,” King said.