By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer, Video by Drake Toll | Broadcast Reporter
Baylor volleyball earned their seventh straight sweep Saturday over Kansas State, but the Bears struggled for the first time since dropping a set to Houston nearly a month ago.
Baylor took the first two sets fairly easily (25-19, 25-15), but they trailed for the first time in weeks across the third. The Wildcats took the lead after an 11-11 tie and held it until Baylor overtook them at 22-21. The Bears then gave up three of the next four points to force a timeout for Baylor and set point for Kansas State, 24-23.
The Ferrell Center was strong Saturday, though, as the crowd ramped up late in the third. The Wildcats’ next two serves went out of bounds, and a few more errors gave the Bears the lead at 27-26. Kansas State took their final timeout and got a kill to bring the set even.
The Wildcats’ effort was fraught in the end, as junior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley hit a huge kill to retake the lead, and junior setter Hannah Lockin and freshman middle blocker Kara McGhee combined for a block to put away the set 29-27, along with the match. Baylor volleyball head coach Ryan McGuyre said postgame that his team
“I’m not sure fear is the right word, but [our play] is very concerning. Way too many hitting errors for us in this match. We just weren’t taking care of the ball on some of our digs,” McGuyre said. “It’s such a fine line from good to great, and we’ve been playing at a great level.
“Fortunately, Marieke [Van Der Mark] hits at a high percentage, Gia [Milana] hits at a high percentage, Shelly [Stafford] always hits at a high percentage. It was an ugly third set, glad we responded and did enough to win, but that’s not going to be enough in the future,” McGuyre said.
The Bears committed about twice as many hitting errors as McGuyre is normally comfortable, hitting 21 bad balls to their 96 attempts. The Wildcats were eager to bail out Baylor, though, hitting 13 service errors across the match, and eight in the close third set. Hannah Lockin said that those service errors aren’t always a good thing, though.
“Their service errors obviously helped us, gave us eight points [in the third], so definitely thankful for that. But also, it just shows us things we need to work on. It exposes the amount of points we wouldn’t have had if they hadn’t missed that many,” Lockin said.
Those service errors came at the hands of a loud crowd and a rowdy band, especially with their surprise screams. Senior libero Tara Wulf said that she is thankful that volleyball attendance has been so high this season.
“Oh my gosh, it’s so much fun. Especially the contrast from last year to this year, [the crowd] bring the energy, and it just hypes us up,” Wulf said. “When we maybe have a run of not too many good points, they get us back in it, and it’s so much fun looking up and seeing a full crowd.”