By Cody Soto
Baylor volleyball (8-2) took three wins at the Colonials Challenge last weekend to be the only undefeated team in Washington D.C. and come back to Waco as George Washington tournament champions.
Sophomore outside hitter Katie Staiger was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player with 37 kills in three matches and was named to the all-tournament team. Junior outside hitter Andie Malloy also joined Staiger as an all-tournament selection with 37 kills.
Friday night, the Bears swept host George Washington (20-28, 25-23, 25-23) in its second match of the tournament.
Staiger led with 13 kills, and Malloy and junior middle hitter Adrien Richburg added 10 apiece. Both teams hit under .300 with Baylor hitting .295 and the Colonials (6-3) with a .267 attacking percentage in the match. Junior setter Amy Rosenbaum led all players with 39 assists in the win.
Baylor led 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 Bears then took an The Bears held an 11-6 advantage early in the second set and held onto the lead to take the set 25-23 behind a kill by sophomore middle hitter Tola Itiola.
During the final set, Baylor led 22-19 before George Washington went on a 3-0 run to tie the game 22-22. Baylor went on a 3-1 run quickly after that to take the set 25-23 and the sweep.
On Saturday morning, Baylor played its first five set match this season and topped Illinois State (21-25, 25-23, 17-25, 26-24, 15-12).
In the game, Malloy had her fifth double-double with 12 digs and senior middle hitter Nicole Bardaji’s 12 kills and 12 digs gave her a double-double for the first time in her career. Rosenbaum had a career-high 56 assists in the win over the Redbirds (6-5). Senior libero Hope Ogden set a personal best with 26 digs.
The Bears dropped the first set 25-21 after a .256 hitting effort by Illinois State and a .143 attack percentage of their own.
After that, Baylor trailed 23-21 late in the second 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.
The Bears were unable to recover from the Redbirds’ .542 attack percentage in the third set, and Illinois State easily took the set 25-17, pulling ahead 2-1 in the match.
Baylor then made a big comeback and forced a fifth set. Despite being down 24-23, the Bears erased Illinois State’s only match point of the game to take the 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.
The Bears currently lead the Big 12 in kills (14.67 per set), digs (16.83 per set) and assists (13.64 per set).
Baylor capped off its six-game road trip with a sweep over Columbia (25-20, 25-21, 25-22) Saturday night in its final match of the tournament.
Despite only hitting .133 in match, the Bears posted 39 kills to sweep the Lions (3-3) in straight sets. The team held Columbia to a .093 hitting percentage during the match, the second lowest output by a Baylor opponent this season.
Malloy led Baylor with 11 kills and hit .259 in the three-set win.
With the win, Baylor completed a tough six-match road trip with an impressive 5-1 record. The Bears now sit at 6-2 on the season; at this point last season, Baylor sat at 4-6.
Baylor looks to keep their four-game winning streak alive as they host Northwestern State on Tuesday. Baylor holds a 4-0 series lead over the Demons and are playing at home for the first time since Sept. 2’s 4-set win over Rice.
First serve is set for 7 p.m on Tuesday at the Ferrell Center.