By Daniel Hill
Against Arkansas State on Friday night, the Bears dropped their first set to the Red Wolves before winning the next three sets to take the match. While this tournament is used as a bit of a tune-up before Big 12 competition starts, head coach Jim Barnes still wants to see the team start stronger in the future.
“We were not sharp out of the gate and took us a while to get going,” Barnes said. “Arkansas State is a good opponent and we finally picked it up in sets three and four.”
Following the Arkansas State victory, the Bears moved on that same night to play McNeese State. Alyssa Dibbern had 15 kills and Baylor won 3-1.
“Give McNeese State credit because they battled us very hard,” Barnes said. “We had some kids come off the bench and really step up to deliver for us.”
On Saturday, Baylor volleyball started bright and early at 9 a.m. versus Bethune Cookman. After winning its first two sets, Baylor relied on its reserve players in set three, and they delivered. Kristin Fitzpatrick tallied three kills off of five swings.
“I liked the fact we were able to get a lot of people some playing time today,” Barnes said. “We had some new players step up for us today and take advantage of their opportunity.”
With the tournament title in their sights, the Bears could not let up against Hampton in their second match on Saturday.
Hampton jumped out to a quick start, but Baylor fought back to win the second set and match.
“I think we got a huge wake-up call tonight,” Barnes said. “Hampton came out with their hair on fire and we were caught flat-footed. Thea [Munch-Soegaard] and [Mackenzie] Mayo really picked it up for us and were the fuel behind our comeback.”
Baylor volleyball improved its record to 10-1 after winning the Big Daddy’s Invitational title over the weekend in Lake Charles, La. With their only loss coming from a road match against ninth-ranked Hawaii, Baylor volleyball is off to a fast start.
Despite battling injuries, the Bears won four matches over a span of two days to best the competition of Arkansas State, McNeese State, Bethune Cookman and Hampton.
“We were not sharp out of the gate and took us a while to get going,” head coach Jim Barnes said. “Arkansas State is a good opponent and we finally picked it up in sets three and four.”