By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer, Video by Drake Toll | Broadcast Reporter
No. 1 Baylor volleyball dropped its first match of the season to No. 4 Texas by way of a sweep (25-19, 25-10, 25-19) in Austin. The Bears have now dropped 35 straight matches to the Longhorns.
UT came prepared for Wednesday’s matchup, outplaying the Bears in every facet of the game. The Longhorns had more kills (34-32), service aces (9-1), blocks (12-4) and three times fewer errors (8-24). Junior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley said the lackluster play led to too many errors.
“They put up a good block, so we were trying to hit over them, and it just didn’t work out that way. We just had a lot of errors, and we just normally don’t do that,” Pressley said.
Not only were the players in burnt orange ready, but the fans in the stands just compounded their success. The students at the front of the line to get in Gregory Gymnasium started piling up three hours before the first serve, and the crowd made themselves heard early and often.
Halfway through the third set, fans even started chanting “overrated” as the higher-ranked squad flailed. Baylor head volleyball coach Ryan McGuyre said the crowd had a ringing impact on the match.
“I think [the crowd] definitely helped Texas for sure. I think they get this all the time, but we really just never put any pressure on them […] they never had to worry about us,” McGuyre said. “Maybe it got to us on defense where we were pressed a little bit more. We had a lot of balls hit us that didn’t go where we needed them to go.”
The message after the match was one of unity and moving on. Both McGuyre and Pressley said the match would be good for the team going forward. The focus going forward will be on preparing for the next goal, which is beating each team on their way to a rematch with Texas and then to the postseason.
“[Texas shows] what it’s like to play at a super high level, and in a match where it really means something,” McGuyre said. “You know, we’re a program that’s trying to go deeper in the tournament, and to me, that was a final four atmosphere. A lot of teams that get there for the first time, they tend to struggle and really realize it later.”
Fortunately for the Bears, their misstep comes in mid-October rather than December. Baylor played as bad as they have all season, with UT’s size giving them fits all night. Baylor even lost the second set 25-10, a bigger differential than they have been able to win by all season.
No. 1 volleyball will look to get back on track at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Ferrell Center against unranked West Virginia.