By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer, Video by Drake Toll | Broadcast Reporter
Baylor volleyball finished the Baylor Classic with a victory once again, beating No. 13 Hawai’i in three sets. Baylor is now 9-0, having only dropped two sets over the course of the season. The Bears remain one of two undefeated teams in the country after sweeping the previously undefeated Rainbow Wahine.
In the Ferrell Center, however, the game didn’t feel like a sweep. The Bears struggled in the second and third sets, falling behind by as many as seven points late in the second, but Baylor managed to stay confident and fight back to win that set 25-23.
Then, in the third set, it was a game of two-point runs. The score was tied through six all, followed by small runs of two or three until the score was tied again at 22. Hawai’i cracked under the pressure though, committing two straight errors to set up match point for the Bears, and senior outside hitter Gia Milana took the opportunity, scoring a kill on the final play to put away the Wahine. Baylor head coach Ryan McGuyre talked about his desire for regular success from this team.
“I’m pleased with our girls’ consistency. The third set against Missouri and the third set today we had some challenges with our serving. You know, we wanna wear teams down, and it was a hard team to wear down today,” McGuyre said. “You got to understand that sometimes there’s gonna be 100 points played and that if you play 97 out of those 100 points extremely well, you beat the team that plays 95 points extremely well. Sometimes the difference comes down to two or three.”
Along with their consistency, the story of the day was Baylor’s middles. Senior Shelly Stafford and freshman Kara McGhee each set season-highs in kills, combining for 29, and the pair only committed five errors between them on 43 attempts. McGuyre praised his star freshman postgame.
“Kara just has unlimited potential. There’s so much potential in her. We’re all excited about the jump that we’ve seen from Yossi and Lockin moving into their upperclassmen [years]. Can’t wait for Kara to be an upperclassman, and really can’t wait for her to be playing in October. We’re seeing more and more out of her. She does so many things well, and she’s still learning the game,”McGuyre said.
Stafford and McGhee weren’t the only ones who had big days. Junior setter Hannah Lockin set a season-high in assists for three-set matches, going for 46. Star junior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley also continued her huge year, putting up another 19 kill match, one short of her best in a three-set match as well.
The Bears will have their last match against a non-conference opponent as Texas State comes to play the Bears at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Ferrell Center.