Volleyball extends winning streak to five straight with sweep of No. 11 Kansas

Senior middle hitter Camryn Freiberg goes for a kill in an Oct. 18 matchup with Kansas. Baylee VerSteeg | Multimedia Journalist

By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor

Saturday was just another day at the office for Baylor volleyball. The Bears extended their winning streak to five straight matches, sweeping No. 11 Kansas 25-17, 25-21, 25-18 In Lawrence, Kan.

In this streak, Baylor has not dropped a single set, winning all five in three sets.

The win over the Jayhawks is Baylor’s first since 2012 and the first time the Bears have won at Horejsi Family Athletics Center since 2010.

Once again, freshman outside hitter Yossiana Pressley took control for Baylor offensively, hitting .410 with 19 kills in 39 total attacks.

Baylor head coach Ryan McGuyre said Pressley has been a catalyst for the team’s recent success.

“Yossi [Pressley] had another outstanding performance. Offensively, she was virtually unstoppable and reliable for us,” McGuyre said. “I thought we got good production from our middles, both a combination of our blocking and offensively attacking. Good offensive night for us.”

But Pressley also had help, getting 12 kills from sophomore middle hitter Shelly Fanning and 10 from junior outside hitter Aniah Philo.

Pressley got Baylor on the board in the first set, registering her first kill to cut Kansas’ lead to 2-1. Her third kill of the set tied it at 4, before a mini 6-3 spurt by the Jayhawks put them in front 10-7 in the opener.

But Baylor continued to work its way back into the set, grabbing the lead for good at 12-11 on Pressley’s five kill of the set. The Bears began to get some separation, pushing the lead to 22-15 after three straight kills, one from Philo, one from freshman setter Hannah Lockin and one from senior middle hitter Camryn Freiberg. Following two Jayhawk errors, Baylor took the opening set 25-17.

In the second set, Kansas gained control, taking an 8-7 deficit and turning it into a 15-8 lead following a multitude of Baylor errors.

However, the Bears continued to chip away, using a 5-0 run of their own, capitalized by a kill by Pressley to regain the lead at 18-17. Baylor then ended the set on a 7-3 run, solidified by kills from Freiberg and Philo to capture the set 25-21.

In the third, Baylor took control early, racing to a 4-1 lead after back-to-back kills from Fanning. A few points later, Fanning perfectly placed two serves, getting aces on both of them to put the Bears in front 8-4.

Baylor continued to keep Kansas at arm’s length, pushing its lead to 16-10 on Pressley’s ace and third of the set for the Bears.

Pressley then delivered her 19th kill of the match, giving Baylor match point at 24-18. After Kansas handled the serve, sophomore middle blocker Zoe Hill went for the kill, but sent it right to Pressley and Fanning, who were there for the match-ending block.

Baylor did commit 15 errors on the attack, but hit .283 as a team compared to .088 in the first matchup with the Jayhawks. The Jayhawks hit .308 in the first meeting, but the Bears limited them to just .126 this time around. A big part of the shift was the defense of the Bears, who had 50 digs in the match, led by senior libero Jana Brusek’s 14 digs. It was also Baylor’s toughness and effectiveness in using the block at the net.

On Oct. 18, Kansas out-blocked Baylor 11.5 to five, forcing the Bears into 22 attack errors. On Saturday, it was Baylor that returned the favor, winning the battle at the net 10-7, including eight from Fanning, with her final one cementing the victory for the Bears.

McGuyre said the defense was incredibly effective in disrupting Kansas’ offense.

“We spent a lot of time on defense as far as picking our spots and trying to be a little more disruptive with our blocking schemes,” McGuyre said. “They’re a good team. We had to adjust for No. 12 [Ashley Smith] on the outside to be able to block and slow her down.”

Smith finished with 10 kills in 34 swings, but also committed a team-high five errors.

After sitting out the last four matches for rest and swing management, redshirt senior outside hitter Katie Staiger saw minimal action in one set, but did not register a kill.

Baylor now moves into sole possession of second place in the Big 12 with three conference matches remaining. The Bears trail Texas by two games, but will host the Longhorns on Nov. 25 at the Ferrell Center.

No. 23 Baylor (21-5, 11-2) returns home to take on Kansas State (9-16, 2-10) at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Ferrell Center.