By Shehan Jeyarajah
After winning its first Big 12 match of the season on Oct. 9 against West Virginia, Baylor volleyball looks to keep the momentum going in a Big 12 tilt against Texas Christian University. The Bears currently sit with a record of 9-11 after a 1-3 start in Big 12 conference play.
“Our problem has been consistency,” senior defensive specialist Kayci Evans said. “At some point it comes together but then five minutes later we’ll mentally break down.”
Senior outside hitter Zoe Adom leads Baylor with 3.07 kills per set this season. Sophomore outside hitter Thea Munch-Soegaard is right behind with 2.78 kills per set and 2.71 digs per set despite missing four matches earlier this year with a foot injury.
Sophomore setter Amy Rosenbaum has been a key player for Baylor in her first year starting at setter. Rosenbaum currently ranks fifth in the Big 12 in assists per set with 10.04. Fellow sophomore libero Mackenzie Mayo ranks ninth in the Big 12 in digs per set with 3.07.
Freshman middle hitter Tola Itiola was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the first time after her seven kill, four block performance against West Virginia on Oct. 9. She hit .583 in the three set sweep.
“To beat TCU, we have to bring the same consistent focus we had against West Virginia and get an edge,” head coach Jim Barnes said. “We’re serving a little tougher, making things a little tougher for other teams and playing good, consistent volleyball. You’re not going to win the match through a point, you have to keep consistent pressure.
Senior middle blocker Yvonne Igodan leads the Horned Frogs with 2.74 kills per set on a .316 hitting percentage. Igodan’s hitting percentage is seventh overall in the Big 12 and leads her team. Freshman outside hitter Ashley Smith is right behind with 2.67 kills per set.
The Horned Frogs play two setters: redshirt freshman Trisha Langley and sophomore Alexia Heist. They average 4.27 and 5.83 assists per set respectively. Freshman libero Shane Peters leads TCU with 3.38 digs per set.
Defense will once again be key for a young Baylor team. TCU hits .241 on the season and holds their opponents to .216. Baylor is allowing teams to hit .243, and will need to improve on that to keep them competitive. The offense has not been quite enough to win them matches, as they hit .207 on the season.
“TCU is beatable,” Rosenbaum said. “If we play our game, we should come away with a win.”
Baylor comes into the match leading the all-time series over TCU 9-1, including an undefeated record at home. In fact, the only loss Baylor has to TCU came on the road in 2011.
Baylor volleyball will play TCU at 7 p.m. tonight at the Ferrell Center. The game will be regionally broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest.