By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
Baylor volleyball’s Yossiana Pressley ranks second in the country with 5.59 kills per set. She efficiently hunts for her spot, finding her prowling grounds behind the left post before rising above the net to feast on her opponents’ hopes and dreams.
The junior outside hitter leads the No. 3 Bears in kills and attempts, seeing the lion’s share of both sets and defense’s attention. She said that once she gets in the air, there is one goal on her mind.
“I don’t think of anything except crushing the ball to the floor or placing a ball where they are out of system,” Pressley said. “Afterwards, if I don’t get a kill, cool. If I get blocked straight down, I laugh … But whenever I get blocked and somebody stares me down or something, I just I don’t talk about the game, do the talking or the trash talk.”
One of her favorite parts of playing offense is the act of the surprise kill. During the Texas match, the team was constantly down and looking defeated, so McGuyre would call timeouts to get his girls back on track. Out of the break, junior setter Hannah Lockin would set Pressley up the middle, coming out of nowhere to knock a ball into the opponents’ side of the court.
“I have a lot more fun with [those plays] because some teams don’t see it coming, especially early on in preseason … and it’s even more fun when we get into Big 12 play and they know that it’s coming from previous years that I’ve played them,” Pressley said. “Whenever I do get that kill because you knew it was coming but I still got the kill. It’s very liberating.”
Perhaps one of the scariest things about Pressley’s game is her ability to go up a notch when sets get close. She has repeatedly saved the team when facing set points and reeled the team back into position when they start to slip off of a big lead. Baylor’s leader on the outside said that while everyone does that part, she loves to help put her team over the top.
“Either I take over by getting a kill, or I take over by distracting the blockers so my other teammates can get a kill … whenever you see somebody late to block me is because [my teammates] got that previous point or they’re being disruptive and, you know, kind of letting me sneak my way into getting a kill,” Pressley said.
She affects every facet of the game for opposing defenses, and head coach Ryan McGuyre has taken notice. He said that her success this season has been guiding the team.
“[She’s a] 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,” McGuyre said.
Baylor has produced success unseen before in the history of the volleyball program on campus, having never been ranked above No. 12 before their historic 16-0 run to start the season. Even with their success, she is convinced Baylor is still the underdog in the grand scheme of things, but that doesn’t mean her beliefs in this team have to be any different.
“I have no doubt in my mind that we’re going to win the Big 12 … I’m so confident in my teammates because we hold each other accountable every single day,” Pressley said. “We expect to win every set. It didn’t work out, but we can still try again. I have no doubt in my mind that we’ll go as far as we need to.”