Volleyball hits the road for final non-conference matchups

Baylor junior libero Tara Wulf digs the ball against UTRGV on Sept. 8. The Bears lost 2-3. MJ Routh | Multimedia Journalist

By Ben Everett | Sports Editor

No. 18-ranked Baylor volleyball faces UTSA and Virginia Tech this weekend at the UTSA Invitational in their final non-conference games.

The Bears (6-3) are coming off of a 2-1 weekend slate in which they pulled off the program’s highest-ranked win over No. 2 Wisconsin on Friday night.

The Bears turned around on Saturday and lost to The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley 3-2 in the morning before defeating Rice 3-1 later that night as a part of the Baylor Classic.

Baylor head coach Ryan McGuyre said the Bears were inconsistent over the weekend.

“This weekend was a roller coaster of ups and downs,” McGuyre said. “Wisconsin definitely was the highlight. We’re nowhere as good as we need to be, but each week we’re just going to continue [to] close that gap. We really want to feel that us at our best can really contend with anyone in the country. We also want us at our worst to still beat others at their best.”

Pressley earned Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors for the sixth time in her career following her Baylor Classic performance.

In the win over Wisconsin, sophomore outside hitter Yossiana Pressley led the match with a career-high 32 kills. In the loss to UTRGV, Pressley once again led the match in kills with 25. Against Rice, Pressley totaled a team-high 15 kills while also recording an ace.

Sophomore setter Hannah Lockin said she has become accustomed to Pressley’s dominant play.

“I always just expect her to go off,” Lockin said. “When she does, most of the times it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s just like any other day. I can just pass her every ball and expect her to score.'”

UTSA is 7-3 on the season and has suffered back-to-back losses. The Roadrunners fell to Texas State 3-1 on Thursday in San Antonio.

UTSA is led by junior outside hitter Brianna McCulloch, who has 134 kills on .274 efficiency and a 3.83 kill-per-set average. Senior setter Amanda Gonzales leads the team with 352 assists on the season.

Virginia Tech is 9-1 on the season with their lone loss to Samford on Sept. 8. The Hokies are led by sophomore outside hitter Kaity Smith and senior opposite hitter Jaila Tolbert who have 120 and 100 kills on the season, respectively. Sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Marisa Cerchio leads the defense with 39 blocks.

Baylor junior middle blocker Shelly Fanning has 37 blocks this season to lead the Bears. Pressley has 192 kills so far for Baylor, who dropped from No. 15 to No. 18 in this week’s AVCA Coaches Poll after the loss to UTRGV.

McGuyre said the Bears have to approach each day with more consistency in order to put together a winning streak.

“Our rhythm has got to be more consistent,” McGuyre said. “We just need to continue to train to make good decisions and find the balance. There’s a consistent approach to the game that we can be better at.”

The Bears face UTSA at noon on Friday and take on Virginia Tech at noon on Saturday.