By Krista Pirtle
The Baylor volleyball team fell to the Oklahoma Sooners 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 23-25, 23-25) Wednesday night. Baylor had four players with double-digit kills in redshirt junior outside hitter Zoe Adom, freshman outside hitter Thea Munch-Soegaard, sophomore middle hitter Adri Nora and senior right side hitter Alyssa Dibbern.
The Bears started off the first set with a 6-0 run. Baylor maintained its opening momentum and led 17-12. Oklahoma recovered to eventually tie the match at 19-19. The Bears were down 19-20 when Dibbern earned a kill to tie the game. Oklahoma suddenly found its stroke and pulled ahead to win the first set by four points, 21-25.
In the second set, Baylor fell behind with a five point deficit, which forced head coach Jim Barnes to call a timeout. The Bears fought back and tied the match at 15 all. Starting with the 15-15 tie, the second set would go on to have seven more tie scores as Oklahoma and Baylor traded points. With the set tied at 23-23, Baylor overtook Oklahoma and held on to win the match 25-23.
The Bears trailed for most of the third set and at one point were losing by 10 points, 9-19. Baylor won the next consecutive 11 points behind senior setter Kate Harris’ serving and took a 20-19 lead. Oklahoma would go on to win the next four points and take a 20-23 lead. The Sooners were won the third set 23-25 despite Baylor’s amazing 11 point run.
The fourth set saw the Bears jump out to an early 8-4 lead behind kills from Adom and Nora. Much like in the first set, Oklahoma once again fought back to the score at nine all. From there the Sooners got into a groove and took a commanding five point lead, 14-19. Adom crushed the volleyball for a crucial kill that sparked a Baylor comeback. The Bears tied the match at 22-22. In almost an identical scenario to the second set, Oklahoma would go on to win the fourth set 23-25 to defeat Baylor 3-1.
Serving problems were the main reason behind the Bears coming up short on Wednesday night.
“The team is fighting,” Barnes said. “They are giving all they can and we’re trying to give them the parts of the game that they need to focus on to give us the edge. Every timeout was ‘Guys, we’ve got to get on the service line and serve tough because we can’t get them out of their offense.’ For some reason, tonight we just did not serve tough.”
Harris was responsible for spurring the Bears 11 point run behind her serves, but this was a tough loss for the Baylor senior and captain setter.
“This was definitely a heartbreaker,” Harris said. “We were right there. I mean we were within two points for both sets and this is a tough loss for us.”
Next, the Bears take on the West Virginia Mountaineers at noon on Saturday in Morgantown.
“It was a tough one,” Nora said. “Our serving was a little off. We kind of served easy balls, but me personally, this is kind of like fire in the belly basically because this just makes me more angry and ready for West Virginia.”