By Collin Bryant | Sports Writer
Baylor volleyball overwhelmed West Virginia in straight sets 25-20, 25-18, 25-12 Saturday at the Ferrell Center, extending its winning streak to nine straight matches at home.
The Bears and Mountaineers traded blows early in the first set with neither team able to pull away in the first 12 points. While the Bears led for a short period, the battle intensified as the Mountaineers pushed back to tie the game at 10. Once tied, both teams began trading points again.
After an ace serve from redshirt senior outside hitter Katie Staiger, the Bears began to build momentum and its lead late into the set. Staiger then put the first set away with one final kill for the Bears, 25-20.
The offensive load was shared throughout the first set, with five different Bears producing at least one kill. Junior outside hitter Aniah Philo and Staiger each had three kills.
Redshirt sophomore middle hitter Shelly Fanning said she thought it was incredible to have so many different threats on offense, as it makes offense easier for everyone.
“I think it’s awesome that we have so many threats across the net and I think it opens it up for everybody,” Fanning said. “We knew we couldn’t give hope to this team because they are a good team.”
The Bears got off to a quick lead early in the second set, but the Mountaineers remained in striking distance as they continued to battle. Staiger along with freshman outside hitter Yossiana Pressley led the Bears with five kills going into the middle of the set.
The Bears began to gain offensive momentum, pulling away 17-10 going into the back portion of the second set. The Mountaineers fought back toward the end of the set, pulling the game back to 22-15. However, it wasn’t enough to hold off the Bears, who won the set 25-18 after an attack error from the Mountaineers’ sophomore right side hitter Natania Levak. Staiger added three more kills in the set.
Despite being down two sets, the Mountaineers continued to fight back in the early parts of the first set. Keeping up with the Bears through the first 10 points at 5-5. Philo began to heat up toward the middle part of the third set, jumping ahead in kills with three in the set and eight in the match.
Pressley quickly matched Philo with a few more kills of her own, building a 14-7 lead in the set. After an attack error going into the final portion of the third set, the Bears took a timeout, leading 18-9. The Bears offense continued to attack before Fanning’s kill gave the Bears the set 25-12 and the match.
Baylor head coach Ryan McGuyre said the team was committed to working on their improvements throughout the game.
“We’re committed to being one degree better. With a freshman setter that just played so good against Iowa State and again tonight, we’re siding out at a very high level,” McGuyre said. “It reminds me of the old days when I was coaching guys, you knew as long as we were up we’re going to win.”
Baylor (15-4, 5-1) hopes to capture another conference win against Kansas State (8-9) at 7 p.m. Oct. 14 in Manhattan, Kan.