Redshirt junior outside hitter Katie Staiger broke Baylor’s record for kills in a single season. It was on her 11th kill of the match on Wednesday that she secured the record for herself. She now has 642 kills on the season and finished the match with 32 kills.
Despite Staiger’s effort and place in the Baylor record books, the Bears let a two sets to one lead slip away in falling at home to the Iowa State Cyclones, 25-27, 25-14, 25-22, 11-25, 9-15.
“Very frustrating loss. It was frustrating for me, personally, because the team didn’t reflect some of the core values from training that have been important to us all year,” said head coach Ryan McGuyre. “It’s ultimately on me in making sure they’re doing that, inspiring them to do that, motivating them to do that.”
After falling behind early in the first set, Baylor fought its way back into the match behind some timely kills from Staiger and sophomore outside hitter Aniah Philo. The Bears also took advantage of some attack errors from the Cyclones. However, Iowa State would fight back and end the first set on a 6-2 run to complete the comeback and steal the first set.
The next two sets were all Bears. Baylor was aggressive on their attack, as Staiger finished with six kills in the second. Baylor led from start to finish in the second, continually taking advantage of errors and opportunities for easy kills at the net. The relentless attack from Baylor prevented Iowa State from ever really getting settled in the second, as the Bears ran away with it 25-14. The third set was back and forth and neither team was able to gain more than a two point advantage for the majority of the set. However, a late 7-3 run by the Bears, cemented by a kill from freshman middle hitter Nicole Thomas at the net, ended the third set and gave Baylor a two sets to one lead.
The tide began to turn in favor of the Cyclones in the fourth set. Sophomore outside hitter Jessica Schaben got loose on the attack, putting away three of the first six points of the set. The Cyclones jumped out to a 9-2 lead and the Bears were never quite able to gain their footing in the fourth, as Schaben finished with six kills in the set and Iowa State forced a fifth and decisive set after a 25-11 fourth set win.
After a kill by Philo to draw to a 6-5 deficit in the fifth set, the cyclones used a 9-3 run, cemented by kills from sophomore middle hitter Grace Lazard and redshirt senior outside hitter Morgan Kuhrt, completed the five set win for the Cyclones at the Ferrell Center.
“Sometimes you could just see looks on faces where we weren’t ready to battle. We’ve only been good this year because we showed up ready to battle, and know the outcome, we can’t control,” McGuyre said. “Tonight we didn’t battle like we know how to and we were disappointed with the outcome.”
Schaben and Kuhrt led the Cyclones in attacks, as they both finished with 16 kills. After Staiger’s 32 kills for the Bears, Philo contributed 13.
With the loss, Baylor drops to 21-10 overall, and 9-6 in Big 12 play. Iowa State improves to 17-10 overall and 9-6 in the conference, and into a tie for third place with the Bears in the Big 12 standings.
The Bears will host the fourth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks for Senior Day at the Ferrell Center at 1 p.m. Saturday.