By Joshua Davis, Sports Writer
Baylor volleyball rallied to win second place at the Rams Classic in Fort Collins, Colo. last weekend.
The Bears began the tournament with a loss to No. 12 Colorado State in three sets, 24-26, 18-25, 20-25, on Friday night at the Moby Center. The defeat marked the first match played under new head coach Ryan McGuyre.
In the first set against the Rams, Baylor trailed 11-16 before going on an 11-5 run and reaching a set point at 24-23. Colorado State won the next three points and took the first set.
The Bears were unable to match the Rams intensity over the next two sets and were swept in the season opener. Baylor committed 26 attack errors and nine serve errors, while Colorado State only committed 14 attack errors and five serve errors.
Baylor struggled to keep up its level of play throughout the match. Baylor hit .205 as a team in the first set, but that number fell to .093 in the second set and .000 in the third set. McGuyre said after the match that his team needed to find some consistency.
“We had five blocks in the first set, plus a lot of touches, but that didn’t hold as well as we needed it to,” McGuyre said. “We’ve got to have that start-to-finish tomorrow.”
Saturday’s five-set win against Northern Iowa on Saturday (21-25, 25-23, 25-18, 22-25, 15-8) gave McGuyre his first win as Baylor’s head volleyball coach. Unlike the first match against Colorado State, the Bears were able to dig deep and finish strong as they won the final seven points of the fifth set to win 15-8.
Senior outside hitter Andie Malloy had a career-high nine blocks and finished one block shy of joining Cory Sivertson, Stella Odion and Tatiana Kenon as the only Bears to record triple-doubles in school history with kills, digs and blocks. Malloy ended the game with 17 kills, 13 digs and nine blocks.
The final match for the Bears came Sunday afternoon against UC Davis where Baylor came from behind to win in five sets, 25-23, 21-25, 26-28, 30-28, 15-11.
The win secured McGuyre’s squad a second place finish in their first tournament of the 2015 season.
Baylor trailed by as many as six points in the fourth set, down 11-5 at one point before coming back to win the set 30-28. Baylor started out the fifth set down 6-4, but the Bears closed on an 11-5 run to claim their second straight five-set victory.
McGuyre said he believes the preparation with the team over the summer paid off after the Bears’ two late-match victories.
“We fought hard all the way through the fifth set in both of these last two matches, and that’s the foundation first,” McGuyre said. “The heart’s there and the desire is there. We talked a lot through the spring about being fearless and embracing the pressure of the fifth.”
Malloy and sophomore Katie Staiger were named to the Rams Volleyball Classic All-Tournament team. Malloy completed her third double-double of the season in the match against UC Davis (12 kills and 14 digs.)
Senior setter Amy Rosenbaum also collected her first double-double of the season and ninth of her career with 30 assists and 10 digs on Sunday.
Freshman middle hitter, Shelly Fanning hit a team-high .375 for the match with 12 kills and three errors in 24 attacks.
The Bears (2-1) host the Hampton Inn Waco North Baylor Invitational this weekend.
They play Sam Houston State in the home opener at 4 p.m. Friday at the Ferrell Center. Baylor finishes the tournament with a doubleheader on Saturday against Coppin State at 10 a.m. and Cal Poly at 7 p.m at the Ferrell Center.