Baylor Volleyball splits weekend matches in Cougar Challenge

By Baylee VerSteeg | Lariat Photographer Junior outside hitter Aniah Philo goes up for a block against No. 15 Florida State on Aug. 25. Photo credit: Baylee Versteeg

Baylor volleyball split its final two days in the Cougar Classic, defeating Quinnipiac in three sets on Friday before letting a two set to one lead slip away and falling in five sets to the College of Charleston today.

On Saturday, the Bears were aggressive and efficient at the net as they hit 46 percent by converting 52 kills in 90 attacks as they knocked off Quinnipiac in three sets 25-11, 25-16, 26-24.

Redshirt senior outside hitter Katie Staiger led the way with 13 kills while junior outside hitter Aniah Philo added 12. Redshirt sophomore Shelly Fanning continued her streak of nearly flawless play converting 10 of 14 swings without an error and freshman outside hitter Yossiana Pressley notched nine of 16 attempts.

Baylor head coach Ryan McGuyre said that he was pleased with the offensive swings that his team was able to get, especially early in the match.

“The first two sets we came out and played really clean. We kept Quinnipiac at a low percentage and we hit at a high percentage,” McGuyre said. “Once again, Shelly [Fanning] was unstoppable for us in the middle. I thought Katie [Staiger] got some good rhythm. We’re still trying to work on a few things that we want to put into place for future matches, and some of those things look good.”

Baylor raced out of the gate in the first, jumping out to a 13-2 lead on the Bobcats and never looked back. Senior outside hitter Camryn Freiberg completed the impressive set by putting away her first kill of the match.

The second set played out in a similar fashion as the Bears built a 10-3 lead early on to take control of the set. Baylor then put the set on cruise control, finishing the Bobcats off thanks to a block at the net from Staiger.

But Quinnipiac battled in the third set, jumping out to a 10-4 lead to start the set. The Bobcats began to find some holes in the Baylor defense and converting their attacks.

Slowly as the set went on, Baylor began to chip away. Following consecutive kills by Staiger and Fanning and an error from Quinnipiac, Baylor tied the set at 21 apiece.

The Bobcats once more took the lead and had a set point at 24-23 before a kill from Fanning tied up the set. Fanning then followed up her kill with an ace and Baylor closed out the match on an attack error from the Bobcats.

On Saturday, the Bears were in good position to finish the Cougar Challenge with three wins in three days but the College of Charleston had other ideas. The Cougars rallied and Baylor failed to hold a two sets to one advantage, falling 25-19, 25-27, 25-21, 20-25, 6-15.

Baylor jumped out to an early 9-3 advantage on several well-executed attacks from Staiger and Pressley. But back came the Cougars, trimming the lead and tying the set at 17 before the Bears ended the set on an 8-2 run.

In the second, Baylor had set point at 24-21 before a series of four straight kills from the College of Charleston’s junior middle blocker Kennedy Madison gave the Cougars a set point. After a service error tied it at 25, back-to-back errors by the Bears evened the match at a set apiece.

Baylor managed to regroup in the third, allowing the first point to the Cougars before leading the rest of the set. Philo put the Bears ahead two sets to one on a kill down the right side of the court.

In the fourth, the match shifted in favor of the College of Charleston. After taking the lead at 4-3, the Cougars would not relinquish it, pushing it to as high as seven points at 23-16. Madison once again put the final touch on the set, blasting another winner against the Bears’ defense.

In the fifth, it was all Cougars. After Staiger recorded her match-high 22nd kill, the Cougars scored 11 of the next 13 points to close out the match.

Junior outside hitter Devon Rachel led the way offensively for the Cougars finishing with 18 kills, Senior middle blocker Krissy Mummey added 16 and Madison finished with 13.

Fanning and Philo each finished with 14 kills while Philo added 11 digs. Freshman setter Hannah Lockin recorded a double-double with 55 assists and 13 digs as well as five blocks at the net. Senior libero Jana Brusek added 15 digs defensively for the Bears.

Baylor volleyball (4-2) will remain out west and will travel to Hawaii to participate in the Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge. The Bears will take on the University of Nevada at 9:45 p.m. Thursday before meeting Hawaii and BYU on Friday and Saturday.