By Daniel Hill
The Baylor Bears volleyball team defeated TCU in an epic, hard-fought match that lasted all five sets. The Bears won 23-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-18, 15-13 to earn their second Big 12 conference victory.
“We just did not have our ‘A’ game tonight,” head coach Jim Barnes said. “We were really struggling in every facet of the game but we were fighting through it is what I liked. We were fighting and our defense and our blocking picked up just in time to turn the match around. Especially the blocking. I thought [Adri] Nora did a great job hustling and getting blocks. We made enough digs there at the end to get the win.”
The Bears got off to a slow start and dropped the first set to TCU 23-25. The Bears gathered momentum, however, and started to execute down the stretch to win the second and third sets.
TCU won the fourth set, and the fifth set ended up being winner-take-all.
Baylor delivered in the clutch with a wild finish.
TCU was penalized for having seven players on the court instead of six, the regulation number. This caused Baylor to be awarded a point to take a 14-13 lead and put them within one point of winning the match.
“They had seven men on the field and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that in our game,” Barnes said. “It’s unfortunate really, I hate to see a point be given like that. You know they still had their libero on the floor and she needed to be off and so when they blew the whistle for the serve, she was still on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before, especially at that juncture of the game, where it’s crucial. What’s good for us is that we kept ourselves in the game and were able to take advantage of the opportunity and as soon as we had the opportunity we ran with it. It was hard-fought for us but they played a heck of a match.”
Once Baylor attained the match point as a result of TCU’s penalty, the Bears took care of business and put the game away to earn the 15-13 fifth set win.
Much like Baylor football quarterback Nick Florence, sophomore outside hitter Tori Cox sacrificed her redshirt season to contribute and help the team.
Cox had not played all season but after talking with Coach Barnes, the team agreed it was best that Cox play and help the team in any way she could.
“Well, I started. I think it was Monday, I came out and started on the starting side and so I kind of just assumed and then we went with it and I was like okay well I’m just going to get out there on the floor and do my thing,” Cox said.
In her debut, Cox played well and definitely made a difference for the Bears in her first start this season.
“She’s been doing really well in practice and we were all like ‘Tori is doing really well, why is she not playing her’ and tonight she really showed that she is worthy of playing time,” senior Alyssa Dibbern said of her teammate Cox.
The TCU victory gives Baylor a sense of momentum heading into Saturday’s matchup against West Virginia at 2 p.m. at the Ferrell Center.
“I think that taking advantage of this match, if we could just get these two wins, it’s going to light a fire and we are just going to go up from here and there is just no stopping us I think,” Dibbern said. “This win tonight, we are going to start practicing harder, we are going to start playing harder. I think this is what we needed.”