By Shehan Jeyarajah
Baylor volleyball gave the hundreds of fans in attendance an early preview of their 2013 team with the annual Green/Gold scrimmage Tuesday night at the Ferrell Center.
Baylor Green dominated, winning the match 3-0. They won the first set 25-14, second set 25-22 and third set 26-24. Sophomore outside hitter Thea-Munch Soegaard led the match with 16 kills on a match high .419 hitting percentage.
“I felt awesome,” Munch-Soegaard said. “My team was totally consistent the entire time and gave me great support.”
Sophomore setter Amy Rosenbaum played at a high level for Baylor Green, finishing with a match high 36 assists. Rosenbaum gave her perspective on setting up the hitters.
“When they succeed, I succeed,” Rosenbaum said. “Assists are just the embodiment of teamwork, it’s so cool. We bond so well after it.”
Freshman outside hitter Katie Staiger also raved about Rosenbaum’s performance.
“Amy did an awesome job of setting things up to where we would be one on one,” Staiger said. “She gave us really good setups so we could put it all down, it was a lot of her.”
Staiger had quite a match of her own, finishing second in the match with 12 kills, and tied for the lead with three service aces. Staiger impressed with the power on her hits, including a monster hit in the second set that knocked senior outside hitter Zoe Adom over.
Adom led Baylor Gold with 12 kills. Junior middle hitter Nicole Bardaji was second with seven kills. Both freshmen, middle hitter Tola Itiola and setter Morgan Reed, had impressive performances with three block assists and 26 assists respectively.
“I think at first I had a few nerves playing in front of a crowd in my jersey,” freshman middle hitter Tola Itiola said. “Once you get into the game though, you forget about everything, you just want to play for your team. It was exciting.”
The Bears have had preseason scrimmages in the past, but this is the first year that they had it set at the Ferrell Center.
“It was nice to get in uniform and get all the jitters out before we go to Colorado,” senior libero Kayci Evans said. “I expect big things, and I think today proved it. If we can play a little bit cleaner and more aggressive throughout the whole match, I think we’ve really got a chance to do something big this year.”
For head coach Jim Barnes, Tuesday’s scrimmage provided a chance for him to evaluate his team in a competitive environment.
“I think a lot of the girls worked through some nerves in the first set,” Barnes said. “Sets two and three were exciting and played at a pretty high level.”
Both teams got improved steadily as the match went on, posting their highest team hitting percentages in the third set. Each set also became more and more competitive as the match progressed.
Coach Barnes was optimistic about the performance of his team.
“It felt great for the girls to put on the uniform and get there and play. We’ve got several girls who can step up and play. When you split the team up evenly and watch them go at it and both play at a high level, it says a lot about our depth. We’re looking forward to playing another opponent now.”
The Green Team was made up of sophomore setter Amy Rosenbaum, freshman outside hitter Katie Staiger, redshirt freshman middle hitter Sam Hill, sophomore outside hitter Thea Munch-Soegaard, sophomore middle hitter Adrien Richburg, sophomore outside hitter Kristina Fitzpatrick, junior libero Hope Ogden and junior right side hitter Tori Cox.
The Gold Team was made up of senior outside hitter Zoe Adom, junior middle hitter Nicole Bardaji, freshman setter Morgan Reed, senior libero Kayci Evans, freshman middle hitter Tola Itiola, outside hitter Laura Jones, sophomore libero Mackenzie Mayo, junior outside hitter Jordan Teel and freshman outside hitter Taylor Caswell.
Baylor volleyball begins their 2013 season on the road in a 7 p.m. match on Aug. 30 at Colorado State. Their home opener is at 6 p.m. on Sep. 3 at the Ferrell Center.