By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
No. 5 Baylor volleyball once again swept their opponent, beating No. 17 Missouri 3-0 at the Ferrell Center Friday night. The 8-0 Bears have now swept six of their eight opponents, including three ranked squads.
After two dominant sets from the Bears, the third set was tied through 12, with neither team able to set up any kind of momentum. Then, Baylor rolled out a 6-1 run, bringing the score to a solid 18-13 lead. Missouri called a timeout, which jumpstarted their own 6-1 run to tie it back at 19 all, prompting a timeout from Baylor head coach Ryan McGuyre.
This would have been the time to crack for the Bears, but as fifth-year senior and middle blocker Shelly Stafford said postgame, McGuyre is a “mad genius.” The adjustments the Bears were able to make during that timeout led to an emphatic kill by junior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley.
The Bears and Tigers went back and forth until Missouri tied it up at 24-24, fending off a Baylor match point, but Stafford made a block to bring up another match point and junior setter Hannah Lockin finished off the Tigers with an ace, defeating Missouri 26-24. After the match, Lockin talked about finishing strong after a disappointing start to the third set.
“I think just us being good, and knowing that we need to be good, not great, because our good is better than everybody. We just wanted to get in, get out, and respectfully beat them,” Lockin said.
The Bear setter finished with 39 assists, a team season-high in swept matches. Stafford talked about Lockin’s improvement to start this season.
“I’m really impressed with Hannah’s maturity and leadership on this team,” Stafford said.” She’s really stepped up and carried the team in a way that we definitely need her to. I think she’s running a quick offense well, and finding the right hitters at the right times, and dumping at the right times. Everything she’s doing right now is high-level volleyball.”
The match started slow for the Bears, as both teams were tied at 12 all, but then came a series of runs. The Bears went four in a row and Missouri followed with four points of their own to tie it at 16. Baylor then added a 4-1 run to bring the lead to 21-18, which Missouri’s interim head coach Joshua Taylor ended with a timeout. The Bears held on through the rest of the set, finishing with that three-point lead at 25-22.
Set two saw a much more potent Bear offense. Baylor started hot with a 6-1 run, but the Tigers countered and eventually tied it at 13 all. The Bears then put up four, but the Tigers followed with three points to come within one at 17-16. Senior outside hitter Gia Milana ended the Tiger’s run with a dominant kill, sparking a 7-2 run for the Bears to take the second set 25-18. McGuyre talked about his team’s early performance postgame.
“I thought we were good but not great in the first set, and then the second half of the second set we played great,” McGuyre said. “Yossi was unstoppable the first two sets. No-brainer first-team All-American, with the sets she’s getting, how many kills she’s getting, and we are really seeing teams leaving the blockers early to go get her.”
Baylor is now one of five remaining undefeated squads in the country after knocking off previously undefeated Missouri. The Bears will host another undefeated squad, No. 13 Hawaii’s Rainbow Wahine, at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Ferrell Center in the final game of the Baylor Classic.