Volleyball goes 3-0 in Baylor Invitational

Baylor volleyball players celebrate winning a point in their match against Iowa State on Oct. 25, 2014, at the Ferrell Center.

Head volleyball coach Ryan McGuyre’s squad won the 2015 Hampton Inn Waco North Baylor Invitational over the weekend after defeating Cal Poly, Coppin State and Sam Houston State.

Baylor volleyball team has found early success under new head coach Ryan McGuyre’s system, as they are now 5-1 on the season.

After suffering their lone loss in the first match of the season against Colorado State at the Rams Classic, the Bears have rolled off five wins in a row.

Coming into the tournament, several of the Bears’ players had been talking about the excitement of being in front of their home fans for the first time in the season. That excitement was evident in their performances at the Ferrell Center this weekend.

Early anxiety and anticipation may have affected the Bears’ play as they found themselves down 2-1 after the third set in Friday’s home opener against Sam Houston State. Baylor clawed its way back to win the fourth set 25-19 behind a .297 attack effort though.

The Bears took advantage of the extra set and won their third-straight five-set match 15-9.

Saturday’s first match was a different story, as McGuyre’s team was able to finish off Coppin State in three sets. Freshman outside hitter Ashley Fritcher led the way with 10 kills for Baylor. The first year head coach was thoroughly impressed with the production from his underclassman.

“We played really clean and did a lot of good things,” McGuyre said. “It’s great to see [Fritcher] compete like she’s been playing for us in practice. She’s another freshman on the court who’s going to do great things for us.”

The tournament culminated in a match between the Bears and the undefeated Cal Poly Mustangs. Due to the fact that both teams were unbeaten in tournament play, Saturday night’s game was essentially played as the championship game.

Baylor jumped on the offensive early on and proceeded to win the first two sets. Cal Poly would return the favor in the third set to extend the match with a 25-23 victory.

The Bears were determined to not let the match go the distance and closed out the visitors to win the tournament on a 3-1 result. Baylor’s front line provided a match-high 16.5 team blocks.

“We really needed to own the net,” McGuyre said. “That was point number one for us in the locker room. They hit the ball really hard, so our best chance was to beat them at the net. That’s something that we didn’t do very well last weekend, so it’s great to see them emerge with that tonight.”

The win marked McGuyre’s first tournament title as the Bears new head volleyball coach and his record improves to a perfect 3-0 at home.

Senior middle hitter Adrien Richburg was named Best Blocker and freshman middle hitter Shelly Fanning was named the Most Valuable Player for the tournament.

Baylor is slated to play against Dayton on Friday, followed by Cleveland State and Eastern Illinois on Saturday in Dayton, Ohio.