By Cody Soto
Baylor volleyball will travel to Forth Worth and face Big 12 opponent Texas Christian University Saturday morning in its second Big 12 road match this season.
The Bears (10-6, 1-1 Big 12) look to rebound against TCU (11-6, 1-2 Big 12) after they lost a five-set heartbreaker to Texas Tech Wednesday night at the Ferrell Center. Baylor was up 2-1 in the match, but with a disastrous fourth set and a messy end to the fifth set, the team dropped its first Big 12 match on their home court.
“We learned this lesson against LSU, we went up 2-1 and didn’t have the killer instinct, didn’t have the leadership on the floor to keep the pedal down,” head coach Jim Barnes said. “We go and do the same thing in set four. It wasn’t that intense attitude we needed to put them away.”
Prior to the loss, Baylor took an astounding five-set win over Kansas State (14-2, 1-1 Big 12) on the Wildcats’ home court in its Big 12 season opener Saturday night.
The Bears look to take hold of the match early and use Wednesday’s match as motivation to stay alert at every point.
“The earlier we jump on a lead, we gain momentum, so when the other team does get some runs, we have that lead to cushion us, but we were unable to let that happen this time against Texas Tech,” middle hitter Adrien Richburg said.
Baylor leads the Big 12 conference in kills per set (13.94) and ranks second in assists per set (12.92) and third in digs per set (15.67).
TCU trails Baylor in each of these categories, only topping the Bears in blocks per set (2.40) and service aces per set (1.61).
The Horned Frogs come into Saturday’s matchup with a 3-0 loss to Oklahoma (11-4, 2-0 Big 12) Wednesday night in Norman, Okla. TCU statistically led the Sooners in aces and blocks during the match, but it was the team’s .161 attack percentage that kept them behind the rest of the game.
Saturday’s matchup will be the first home match at the University Recreation Center for the Horned Frogs after a memorable 3-1 win over Iowa State (7-5, 1-3 Big 12) to start out Big 12 play. It was the first time in program history that the Horned Frogs defeated the Cyclones in a volleyball game.
TCU comes into the match with a .265 attack percentages and averages 13.3 kills per set. Sophomore outside hitter Ashley Smith leads the team with 167 kills this season and averages 2.98 kills per set. The offensive drive rallies behind junior setter Alexis Heist who contributes 6.18 assists per set.
Defensively speaking, sophomore middle blocker Regan McGuire leads the squad with 52 total blocks this season. TCU has four players with triple digit digs, and junior outside hitter and defensive specialist Sutton Sunstrum averages 4.08 digs per set.
With several hitters struggling Wednesday night, Baylor volleyball looks to shake off the negative energy and spread the offense against TCU.
“One hitter is not going to be 100 percent on her game every night, so we have to be able to go to every hitter on our team whether it is all three hitters in the front row or even a back row hitter,” junior outside hitter Andie Malloy said. “We have to versatile and hard to read for other teams, so every hitter needs to step it up and put the ball away.”
Baylor and TCU face off at the TCU University Recreation Center Saturday morning at 11 a.m. The Bears return to the Ferrell Center Oct. 10 when they take on Kansas in a blackout game at 7 p.m.