Volleyball faces test of character at TCU

Baylor Women's Volleyball team won their away game against West Virginia University on October 17, 2015. Photo credit: Sarah Pyo

By Meghan Mitchell

After sweeping West Virginia on Saturday night, the Bears look to continue dominating on the road against TCU at 7 p.m. today in Fort Worth at the University Recreation Center.

“It’s great to get a win on the road, great to block the way we did,” said head coach Ryan McGuyre. “We were down a little bit, but our service game really picked up. To have the aces that we did there was good. We’ve been tweaking some stuff, trying to maximize the talents these girls have.”

The Bears (14-6, 2-4 Big 12) look to keep the momentum going against the Horned Frogs (14-5, 4-3 Big 12), after winning their first conference road game.

“On the road you want to get in and out as fast as possible,” McGuyre said. “I’ve seen plenty of TCU. They are having a good year, and they are trying to turn things around up there as well. They do a good job of blocking and trying to support one another. They’re unique like us and maybe a little bit of a non-traditional lineup at times. They spread it around.”

The Horned Frogs are ranked No. 4 in the Big 12, but the Bears are not far behind at No. 6. Although the Horned Frogs have won three of the last four meetings, the Bears will be even at 3-3 when playing in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs are also going to have to get through a tough blocking Bears team who have averaged more blocks than their opponents.

“It’s really hard to win on the road, in the Big 12 especially,” said freshman middle hitter Shelly Fanning. “I really think it means a lot to our fans and their fans to know that we can beat them in all the pressure and all the fans that they are going to have and bring out.”

Baylor earned its first conference road win last weekend. The Bears look to repeat that tonight in Fort Worth.

“It’s going to be a challenge for sure,” Fanning said. “I like the challenge. I think it’s going to be a fun environment, but I’m just ready to go out and win.”

The Bears’ skill level will be put the test tonight, McGuyre said.

“We are really at a key point here in the season. This is conference. This is where it matters,” McGuyre said. “I think how we play Wednesday is probably going to give me the best assessment of where we are at and what we are trying to do. Going on the road was good and definitely helps us moving forward.”

Baylor’s season began with promise and a winning record. However, Baylor has struggled since the start of Big 12 play.

“At this point in the season, you really want our identity to kick in. That’s a team that is ready to battle, a team that really understands one way to play.”

McGuyre said he admits the team has not played up to its standard in conference play. He said he still has trust in his players that they will find their late-season form soon.

“In the conference losses, I think we got after it,” McGuyre said. “I’m still waiting for us to breakthrough into this dynamic style of play that we have seen many glimpses of that have helped us win.”