By Shehan Jeyarajah
Baylor volleyball certainly did not lack heart in a hard-fought 3-1 loss against the No. 4 ranked defending national champion Texas Longhorns on Wednesday night in front of an all-time record crowd of 3,044 fans. Despite the loss, Baylor handed Texas their first set loss in Big 12 play by winning the third set in thrilling fashion.
“The crowd was incredible,” junior middle hitter Nicole Bardaji said. “We loved having all the fans.”
Senior outside hitter Zoe Adom led Baylor with 13 kills and three blocks on a .226 hitting percentage. Junior middle hitter Nicole Bardaji contributed with 10 kills and three blocks on a .261 hitting percentage. In her first match back from a foot injury, sophomore outside hitter Thea Munch-Soegaard finished with eight kills and nine digs.
“It was awesome to be back on the floor,” Munch-Soegaard said. “I was excited to get back.”
Baylor hit .094 and had 10 errors in the first set, while the Longhorns hit .400 for the set. The second set was a much closer 25-21 fight.
“We handled the pressure way better today,” head volleyball coach Jim Barnes said. “We kept our focus small instead of thinking about too many things.”
The third set was a raucous 25-23 come-from-behind victory for the Bears. Adom, Bardaji, Munch-Soegaard and sophomore middle blocker Adrien Richburg each finished with three or more kills in the set. Texas was held to a .209 hitting percentage in the set.
Baylor eventually lost in the fourth set, but there were many positives to take from this match.
In the two sets that got away from Baylor, they were out-dug by five, and in the sets they held tight, they won the dig battle by 10.
The defense also forced the Longhorns to hit .227 in the second and third set compared to .387 in the first and fourth sets.
“If we go into every match with the same intensity, we have a real chance a making a difference this year,” Bardaji said. “We played really free and weren’t worried about making mistakes.”
Baylor volleyball returns at 1 p.m. Saturday in a home match against Kansas at the Ferrell Center.