By Cody Soto
Baylor (7-2) took a well-deserved 3-0 sweep (20-28, 25-23, 25-23) over host George Washington (5-2) Friday evening in the Colonial’s Challenge in Washington D.C. to be undefeated going into Saturday.
Sophomore Katie Staiger led both teams with 13 kills, followed by junior outside hitter Andie Malloy and junior middle hitter Adrien Richburg with 10 apiece. Both teams hit under .300 with Baylor hitting .295 and George Washington with a .267 attacking percentage in the match.
Junior setter Amy Rosenbaum led all players with 39 assists in the win and senior outside hitter Nicole Bardaji had 13 digs for the Bears.
Both teams fought it out the entire match. Baylor lead 20-16 in the opening set before the Colonials tied it up at 23-23. The Bears went through six set points before taking the hard fought set 30-28.
The second set was no different. The Bears held a 11-6 advantage early in the set and held their lead the entire set, going into the locker room with two sets to none after Baylor took the second set 25-23.
During the final set, Baylor lead 22-19 before George Washington called a timeout. The Colonials then went on a 3-0 run to tie the game 22-22 and forced Baylor to go on a 3-1 run of its own to take the set 25-23 and the sweep. The Bears tie the series 1-1 with the Colonials.
Earlier in the day, Baylor played its first five set match this season and won 21-25, 25-23, 17-25, 26-24, 15-12 over Illinois State (4-5) in their first match of the tournament.
Four Baylor players posted double-digit kills in the hard fought win. Outside hitters Andie Malloy and Katie Staiger both posted 16 kills, followed by middle hitter Tola Itiola and outside hitter Nicole Bardaji with 12 each. Junior middle hitter Adrien Richburg also contributed with seven kills in the match.
Along with their contributed kills, Malloy had her fifth double-double with 12 digs and Bardaji’s 12 digs gave her a double-double for the first time in her career. Junior setter Amy Rosenbaum had a career-high 56 assists in Friday’s match and posted more than 50 assists for the third time this season.
Senior libero Hope Ogden tied her career high with 26 digs in the match. Richburg led the way at the net with four blocks for Baylor.
The Bears dropped the first set 25-21 after a .256 hitting effort by Illinois State. Although both teams had 14 kills in the set, Baylor had four more hitting errors than the Redbirds and went into the second set down 1-0 in the match.
Baylor trailed a majority of the second set and was down 23-21 late in the set. The Bears then went on a 4-0 to close out the second set 25-23 and head into the locker room tied at one set apiece. Junior middle hitter Adrien Richburg closed out the set with a kill for Baylor.
The Bears hit .200 in the second set, but they were unable to recover from the Redbirds’ .542 attack percentage in the third set. Illinois State took the third set 25-17, pulling ahead 2-1 in the match.
Baylor then made a fourth set comeback and forced a fifth set. The Redbirds were at a 16-12 lead before the Bears tied it up at 16-16. From that point, both teams were tied eight more times before Baylor scored the last two points to take the fourth set 26-24.
Baylor did not trail the entire final set, and behind the team’s .400 attack percentage, the Bears took the fifth set 15-12 to win the match 3-2. Baylor ties the all-time series 1-1 against Illinois State with Friday’s win.
Baylor will take on Columbia at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning in the first ever meeting between these two programs.