By Cody Soto
Baylor volleyball dropped its Big 12 home opener Tuesday night at the Ferrell Center with a five-set decision to Texas Tech 24-26, 25-17, 25-21, 15-25, 13-15.
The loss was the first time since Oct. 13, 2004, that the Bears dropped a match against the Red Raiders in Waco.
“[Texas Tech] played awesome defense. They kept a lot of rallies going, especially towards the end,” junior hitter Andie Malloy said. “They were very smart and consistent, especially in the final two sets.”
Malloy led the team with a career-high 22 kills and added 13 digs for her seventh double-double of the season. Junior middle hitter Adrien Richburg had an impressive .346 hitting percentage and contributed 13 kills in the loss.
Freshman outside hitter Katie Staiger struggled Tuesday night after being named Big 12 Rookie of the Week on Monday. Staiger finished with only seven kills and two blocks in the loss.
Sophomore middle hitter Sam Hill led at the net with eight blocks. Baylor totaled a season-high 15 blocks as a team but also allowed a season-high 19 blocks from the Red Raiders.
Junior setter Amy Rosenbaum led all players with 54 assists and added 14 digs of her own from the back row.
This is the second match during the season that Baylor has lost in five sets after leading the match two sets to one. The previous match was against LSU on Sept. 20.
“When we have a match 2-1, we need to clamp down and put it away,” head coach Jim Barnes said.
Baylor (10-6, 1-1 Big 12) and Texas Tech (14-1, 2-1 Big 12) stayed neck-and-neck during the first set and exchanged the first 20 points evenly 10-10. The Bears suffered from several service errors throughout the set and allowed the Red Raiders to pull ahead. Baylor made a big effort and went on a 5-1 run to tie the set 24-24. A hitting error and a Texas Tech block forced Baylor to drop the opening set 26-24.
“We had our ruts where let them back in and couldn’t get hits,” Richburg said. “Either the set was there and we didn’t get the kill or the set wasn’t there. It was a team effort and it wasn’t there at times.”
The Bears quickly bounced back and took a 12-7 lead in the next set and forced a Texas Tech timeout following a kill by Staiger. Baylor did not let up and capitalized on the Red Raiders’ mistakes, taking the second set 25-17 and headed into the locker room tied 1-1 in the match.
Baylor had a strong third set and used its .324 hitting percentage compared to Texas Tech’s .184 to stay in front the entire set. Both teams hustled late in the set and Texas Tech was forced to call a timeout after Baylor pulled ahead 23-21. A block by Hill in the front court ended the set 25-21 and the Bears went up 2-1 in the match.
The Bears fell apart in the fourth set. They trailed 6-2 early in the set. The Red Raiders soared past Baylor and used a 15-2 run to stay ahead for the rest of the set. The Bears were unable to recover and quickly dropped the set 25-15.
“Coming into the fourth set, we definitely needed to come out strong especially since we were up 2-1 in the match,” Malloy said. “It seemed like we just went through the motions and let the other team get on long runs. After tonight, it’s all about battling and not taking any point for granted.”
The deciding set initially went in the Bears’ favor 6-2 and the Red Raiders called a timeout. From then on, the momentum shifted on the other side of the court and Texas Tech used a 7-1 run to get back in the game. The Bears answered back and used a 4-0 run to pull ahead and stay in the match. A block from the Red Raider front row ended the match 15-13 and made Baylor drop the match 3-2.
“Texas Tech had some hustle plays especially in the fourth set,” Barnes said. “They played well and made some good adjustments to their block.”
Baylor looks to rebound from the loss as they travel to Fort Worth to face Big 12 foe TCU Saturday morning at the TCU Recreation Center. First serve is set for 11 a.m.