Baylor volleyball stumbles against Wildcats

Freshman middle hitter Jaelyn Jackson goes for the kill on Sept. 20 at the Ferrell Center against the University of North Texas. The Bears took the match in four sets, 25-14, 25-18, 26-28, 25-23. Photo Credit: Liesje Powers | Photo Editor

Baylor volleyball began its second rotation through Big 12 play on Saturday in Manhattan, Kan., against the Kansas State Wildcats. Baylor was the dominant force when the two schools got together on Sept. 25, but the night belonged to the Wildcats, as they beat the Bears in four sets, 25-22, 21-25, 25-23, 25-20.

“Our defense was much better [than the first meeting],” said head coach Suzie Fritz on the Kansas State official athletic website. “We were on task at the net defending their hitters, and I thought the defense behind them was really good, too.”

The two schools battled back and forth in the first set, but the Wildcats used a late 4-1 run to edge the Bears 25-22 and capture the set.

The second set seemed to get away from Baylor early as they fell behind 5-0. However, it clawed its way back into the match and used a late 7-0 rally led by senior setter Morgan Reed to steal the second set, 25-21.

This was as close as the Bears got on the late October evening against a determined Kansas State team. The third set and fourth set showcased the Wildcats’ defense prowess against the Bears’ attack as well as their dominance in their home gym.

The Wildcats’ defense at the net force the Bears into committing uncharacteristic errors on the attack. Kansas State’s defensive efficiency led to its running away with the third set, 25-13.

Although hoping to find its rhythm again offensively, Baylor was never able to get firm footing in the fourth set either. The Bears were able to give one final push before eventually falling 25-20 in the fourth.

“On the road against great teams, you have to respond and react swiftly. The adjustments we made throughout the match just came too late,” said head coach Ryan McGuyre. “It forced us to play from behind in most of the sets.”

The Wildcats got the better of the Bears on the scoreboard, but they weren’t able to completely shut down the Bears, as redshirt junior outside hitter Katie Staiger continued her excellent season, finishing with a match high 22 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Aniah Philo added 11 kills for the Bears as well.

The loss drops the Bears to 18-7, 6-3 in conference play. However, they still remain a half game up in the standings above the Wildcats for third place behind Texas and Kansas.

Baylor will look to get back on the right track as they travel to Lubbock on Wednesday to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Baylor defeated Texas Tech at the Ferrell Center in three sets back in September. The match is set to begin at 6:00 p.m.