By Shehan Jeyarajah
Baylor volleyball went 2-1 in the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup hosted at the University of Houston on Friday and Saturday with wins over North Texas and Houston, as well as a five-set loss to Louisiana State. After the tournament, Baylor sits with a record of 7-8 with one match left against UT-San Antonio before Big 12 conference play.
Baylor played Louisiana State to begin the tournament. Despite starting the match up 2-0, Baylor dropped the next three sets to lose overall 3-2. The sets were 28-26, 25-18, 16-25, 18-25 and 8-15.
Baylor won a tough first set behind a six-kill performance from sophomore outside hitter Thea Munch-Soegaard. They pulled away in the second set behind five kills from senior outside hitter Zoe Adom. After those two sets, Baylor combined to hit only .100 for the rest of the match.
Munch-Soegaard led a balanced team effort and finished with 14 kills, 16 digs and two blocks. Adom, junior middle hitter Nicole Bardaji and sophomore outside hitter Laura Jones each finished with eight or more kills. Baylor combined for 14.5 blocks, including nine through the first two sets.
For LSU, freshman middle blocker Briana Holman led with 19 kills on .289 hitting percentage, including a dominant seven kills in a key fourth set victory. Sophomore outside hitter Katie Lindelow added 18 kills and 13 digs on a .304 hitting percentage. Junior outside hitter Helen Boyle added 14 kills and 14 digs.
Baylor’s second match was against North Texas. Despite missing starter Munch-Soegaard for this match and with sophomore middle hitter Adrien Richburg limited, Baylor swept the Mean Green 25-22, 25-19, 25-20.
Bardaji dominated the match against North Texas. Coming into this match, her career-high for kills was nine. Bardaji shattered that number with ten kills coming in just the first set. For the match, she finished with a new career high 17 kills on a .412 hitting percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Laura Jones contributed with 10 kills. Baylor had two 9-0 runs over the match, one in each of the first two sets.
Sophomore outside hitter Carnae Dillard led with 10 kills for North Texas. No other player had more than six kills for the Mean Green. Baylor held North Texas to a .176 hitting percentage. Baylor led in digs 62-57. Senior libero Shelby Tamura led the way with 17 digs.
Baylor ended the tournament with a match against the hosts. Baylor won a tight match against the University of Houston 3-2 with sets being 25-13, 17-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-13.
Jones and Bardaji led Baylor with 13 and 12 kills respectively and 10 combined blocks. Junior outside hitter Jordan Teel started her first match and finished with seven kills and 14 digs. Sophomore middle hitter Adrien Richburg finished with nine kills on .429 hitting percentage and three blocks.
Four players finished with double-digit kills for Houston, led by freshman outside hitter Sarita Mikals with 18 kills. Sophomore right side hitter Kadi Kullerkann and sophomore middle blocker Emily Howard each finished with 14 kills. Baylor held Houston to a .133 hitting percentage in the final set of the match.
Baylor placed second overall in the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup behind LSU. Bardaji was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 12.3 kills per match for the tournament. Jones also was named to the all-tournament team after finishing with 10.3 kills per match.
Baylor plays UT-San Antonio in the last match before Big 12 conference play tonight. The Roadrunners come into the match with an 8-5 record, including wins in six of their last eight matches. Baylor has won the last three matches against UTSA. Senior outside hitter McKenzie Adams leads the Roadrunners. She leads all of the NCAA with 5.50 kills per set, and leads UTSA with 3.40 digs per set.
Baylor volleyball plays UTSA at 7 p.m. tonight at the Ferrell Center.