By Cody Soto
Baylor volleyball dropped a tough 3-1 decision to Kansas on Friday night at the Ferrell Center for its fourth consecutive Big 12 loss 22-25, 25-18, 26-28, 22-25.
The Bears (10-9, 1-4 Big 12) were limited to a .195 hitting effort and let late leads in the third and fourth sets slip away to give the Jayhawks (13-5, 1-3 Big 12) their first Big 12 win in 2014.
Junior setter Amy Rosenbaum said the team was not deceived by Kansas’s poor conference record coming into Friday’s match.
“Just like them, we’ve had a bad start to conference play, so we weren’t underestimating them. We knew they were a good team,” she said. “Kansas is a great team; they’ve always been really good.”
Junior outside hitter Andie Malloy led the team with 17 kills and 15 digs for her 10th double-double of the season. Redshirt sophomore middle hitter Sam Hill added 11 kills on a .500 hitting percentage for the Bears.
“We were targeting the middle because it was singling out the defense and let us spread our offense more,” head coach Jim Barnes said. “Instead of just relying on Andie and [freshman outside hitter] Katie [Staiger] from the outside, we used our middle hitters to create balance.”
In the back row, freshman libero Ashley Myer had 19 digs and junior outside hitter Thea Munch-Soegaard came off the bench to contribute 12 digs in the four-set loss.
Rosenbaum led the Bears with 34 assists followed by sophomore setter Morgan Reed with 12. Both Rosenbaum and Reed moved on and off the court as part of the 6-2 lineup that Baylor used against the Jayhawks.
“It adds another hitter to our offense, and it’s really made a difference in the flow of the game compared to a 5-1 system,” Rosenbaum said. “I think it’s a great play call, but putting the ball away when we need to is really the name of the game.”
The Bears used a late run in the opening set to keep the game alive, but the Jayhawks used an impressive .324 attack percentage to put away the first set 25-22. Baylor owned the second frame and used a .424 hitting effort to take the set 25-18.
“We really had to focus on our discipline and react quicker instead of guessing and trying to read the play early,” Rosenbaum said. “It was really about being disciplined in our skills, and [the fans] saw that after the first set. Kansas got some really great kills, but we picked it up on our side of the court as well.”
Junior outside hitter Laura Jones went out of the lineup when she fell to the floor after going up for a kill during the second set. Jones did not return for the rest of match and is likely to be out the rest of the season.
“It’s not looking good for Laura,” Barnes said. “She’s got a significant knee injury, and it’s tough because she’s taken more hits this season than I’ve seen anyone take in my career. It’s just a shame.”
Baylor had late leads in the final two sets of the game, but hitting errors and a weak appearance at the net caused the team to drop the third and fourth sets 28-26 and 25-22. Kansas finished the night with 12 blocks against the Bears and a .244 attack percentage to take the match.
“We had leads late in both sets, significant leads of three or four points where we were playing under control and doing everything we were trying to do scouting wise, and we made mistakes and let them back in it,” Barnes said. “We really felt like we could have closed out sets three and four since we had those late leads.”
Baylor puts Big 12 play aside and plays host to non-conference opponent Louisiana-Lafayette tonight in the Ferrell Center. First serve is set for 7 p.m. in Waco.