Volleyball earns third-straight sweep to open HotelRED Invitational

Head coach Ryan McGuyre prepares his team for the HotelRED Invitational with a Tuesday morning practice. Kristen DeHaven | Multimedia Journalist

By Jessika Harkay | Sports Writer

What looked like an easy third-consecutive game sweep for No. 17 Baylor volleyball was challenged in the third set before the Bears overcame a deficit and took the match 3-0 over Syracuse Thursday night in Madison, Wis.

Baylor dominated the whole matchup, clinching the first two sets 25-15 and 25-11 before struggling in the third, where the Bears trailed the Orange 20-16 after an attacking error. The error didn’t stop the team though, as the Bears rallied off five straight points before junior setter Hannah Lockin secured the win with a kill bringing the final set in 25-23.

Head coach Ryan McGuyre explained to Baylor Athletic Communications that Syracuse came into the third set “all or nothing with hitting and serving,” and that the Bears began to slack.

“For a short segment, the stars aligned, and to their credit they had some great, tough serves. We added some errors too,” McGuyre said. “We remained steady, and our defense was able to get it done. Tactically, we feel like we have a mature and smart team.”

The game marked Baylor’s season-high hitting percentage at .349 and for the second time this season, the Bears have held an opponent below .100 efficiency.

Led by junior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley with 11 kills and a .320 efficiency, four other players made at least six kills, including middle blocker redshirt senior Shelly Stafford and junior outside hitter Gia Milana with seven each.

McGuyre was proud of his players and their clean play.

“With three matches this week, you never want to drag any of them out,” McGuyre said. “We had four players without hitting errors in the match. For them to play as cleanly as they did made it really easy. Syracuse gave us a few points with some errors, but they figured it out in the third set. Lockin with a timely kill was pretty good.”

Notably, Lockin had her second back-to-back double-double match leading the team with 11 digs and 29 assists.

The Bears continue in the HotelRED Invitational with a matchup at 8 p.m. tonight against No. 4 Wisconsin.