Volleyball extends winning streak to six as Bears sweep TCU

Baylor junior outside hitter Aniah Philo takes a swing in a match against Florida State. Baylee VerSteeg | Multimedia Journalist

By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor

Baylor volleyball continues to ride All-American Katie Staiger to victory.

The senior outside hitter finished with 17 kills, including the final one to end TCU’s rally in the third set, as the Bears swept TCU 25-22, 25-17, 25-23 in Fort Worth on Saturday.

Baylor extended its winning streak to six straight and improves to 12-3 overall and 2-0 in the Big 12.

Baylor head coach Ryan McGuyre said that the team’s experience and maturity were on full display in not only getting a win, but getting one on the road in conference.

“It took great maturity and composure. The way we worked our way through some of the storms in set one was absolutely awesome,” McGuyre said. “Winners need to win and when you go anywhere in this conference, there is no road game in conference that is safe.”

Baylor started the opening set strong, building a 14-10 lead, but TCU rattled off four straight, culminated in one of junior middle blocker Anna Walsh’s 13 kills to even the set at 14.

TCU then charged ahead, building a 21-18 lead, but Baylor refused to go away. Freshman outside hitter Yossiana Pressley got the rally going with her first of eight kills. Staiger then took over with four straight kills to put Baylor up 23-21.

Pressley and Staiger each added one more kill to close out the first set.

TCU director of volleyball Jil Kramer said in a press release that the crowd helped the Horned Frogs settle in, but too many mistakes on the attack helped Baylor take control.

“I thought that we got off to a great start today. The first set was super competitive and real tight there until the end. We had a great crowd today and it was another sellout, but we gave away way too many string of points as the match progressed,” Kramer said in the release. “We just needed to be more efficient hitting and that caught up to us in the end. I love the way we competed at times and I think at some points we were lacking a little bit. We just have to get better at some things. We will get back in the gym and work on it.”

After back and forth action to start the second, Baylor began to take control. Leading 11-9, back-to-back kills by Staiger and redshirt sophomore middle hitter Shelly Fanning extended the lead to four.

Leading 15-11, Pressley and senior middle hitter Camryn Freiberg added two kills before TCU could answer. Following a TCU kill, the Bears continued to attack, highlighted by Staiger and Freiberg’s kills that sliced right through the TCU defense.

Staiger’s kill gave Baylor a set point at 24-14, but TCU strung together three straight points before Fanning shut the door on the set, giving the Bears a two set to zero lead.

Determined to close out the match in three sets, Baylor jumped out to an early 10-5 lead. The Bears maintained the advantage throughout the set, gaining a match point at 24-20.

But TCU had one last fight in it, closing the gap to 24-23 after a kill, a service ace and an error from Fanning. However, Staiger got a clean look on the pass from freshman setter Hannah Lockin and put the match away.

Baylor hit 30 percent as a team connecting on 50 kills in 111 attacks while holding TCU to a 20 percent clip with 39 kills in 111 attacks.

Fanning complemented Staiger’s 17 kills with 10 of her own, while Freiberg hit 46 percent with 8 kills. Lockin was sharp, finishing with 40 assists and four blocks while Staiger led the defense with 10 digs.

Baylor will stay on the road as it will travel to Austin and take on No. 6 Texas at 7 p.m. Wednesday.