By Krista Pirtle
Baylor volleyball’s offensive power could not overtake the Missouri Tigers as it fell 3-1 (22-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-27) Saturday in Columbia, Mo.
What overtook the Bears was what head coach Jim Barnes has been focused on all season: service aces.
The Tigers racked up seven while the Bears could only muster two.
On the evening, Baylor recorded a higher hitting percentage and more kills, with the Bears hitting .255 for the day with 64 kills while Missouri was at .241 with 56 kills.
Leading Baylor offensively was freshman right-side hitter Adri Nora with 15 kills at a .314 hitting percentage.
Following her were senior middle blocker Briana Tolbert and sophomore outside hitter Zoe Adom with 14 each.
Junior middle blocker Torri Campbell also finished above 10 with 12 kills.
Setting up these offensive strikes was junior setter Kate Harris who recorded 55 assists, her third consecutive match with at least 50.
Defensively, the Bears’ numbers were higher than the Tigers, as Baylor notched 74 digs to Mizzou’s 65.
Senior libero Allison King led the way for Baylor with 27 digs, as she was named the Big 12’s defensive player of the week.
Senior outside hitter Qian Zhang was behind her with 12 and Harris, earning her ninth double-double, recorded 10.
In the first set, Missouri jumped out to a 9-6 lead, but Adom got on a roll that started with a block assist and finished with three consecutive kills to give BU a 10-9 lead.
After Zhang tied the score back at 16-16, the Tigers went on a 7-2 run to make it 23-18.
Adom added two more kills, but Missouri held on for a 25-22 win.
The second set was all Baylor from the start, as the Bears cruised out to a 5-0 lead getting three kills and two MU errors.
Baylor added another 5-0 run to push the score to 12-4 with two kills from Nora. The Bears kept adding on with back-to-back kills from Adom, followed by a Campbell kill to increase the lead to 20-11.
A kill by Tolbert and a Tiger attack error finished the set for Baylor, 25-17.
The third set was neck-and-neck until Missouri broke a 10-10 tie with five in a row, but the Bears fought back with four in a row, sandwiched between Nora kills.
Missouri answered with a 4-1 run to open up a 20-16 lead that carried it to a 25-20 win.
It took some time for Baylor in the fourth set, as it faced an 8-3 deficit before the offense found its groove.
Baylor scored 12 of the next 16 to go up 15-12, led by four blocks and back-to-back kills from Campbell.
Missouri answered with a 5-0 run and took a 20-17 lead.
Tolbert then terminated two kills around a Nora kill to put Baylor back in the lead at 22-21.
Another flip-flop of the lead had Missouri up 23-22, and then Baylor took over at set point at 24-23.
Due to a Missouri kill and two Baylor errors, the Tigers clenched the match at 27-25.
Baylor (14-7, 4-7) looks to avenge its five-set loss in College Station earlier this season as it hosts the Texas A&M Aggies 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Ferrell Center.
Baylor has a 9-2 record in the Ferrell Center this year.