By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
No. 3 Baylor volleyball travels to Lubbock this weekend to take on Texas Tech. The Bears are seeking their fourth 20-win season in the past four years.
After three straight matches in which Baylor dropped at least one set, the Bears are coming off their 15th sweep this fall. Head coach Ryan McGuyre said the win was a good way to get back on track.
“We left Iowa State with some smiles, and we’re back on track in rhythm offensively. Our error percentage is back way down; Marieke [van der Mark] definitely gave us a good start,” McGuyre said.
Van der Mark, the redshirt-sophomore opposite, posted a season-high in kills in the win over Iowa State. That level of offense comes from efficiency, as the Bears only committed 10 errors on 95 attacks. The sophomore said the struggles surrounding the Texas match provided the team a chance to get back on track.
“I think it gave us a little bit of a wake-up call … We have to get better. And we are still not where we want to be at,” Van der Mark said. “We want to be at the Final Four. We want to be at the national championship.”
Junior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley also had a career night, with 19 kills and a hitting percentage above .400. Between van der Mark and Pressley, along with the other hitters and junior setter Hannah Lockin having one of their best games of the year, Baylor’s hitting percentage jumped to its highest (.379) in over a month. McGuyre said they’ve got to “dig deep” after those tough matches going forward, just like they did against the Cyclones.
“Adversity is something we always want to embrace. It’s in those moments we’ve got to practice putting the right skills in place,” McGuyre said. “You know, Oklahoma was not [our] highest level [of play], and at Iowa State, who’s much improved … We were able to play at a higher percentage.”
After their triumphant return against the Cyclones and a midweek bye, the Bears now prepare for a trip to Texas Tech. The Red Raiders sit at fifth in the conference and are unranked, but they did give Baylor some trouble earlier this season. McGuyre said they played well in Waco, but they’ve got to keep it up on the road.
“We’ve got to make sure when they swing hard bad things happen for them,” McGuyre said. “You know, that’s the difference between blocks going back into the corner … versus going off the top of the hands and there’s a grandma sitting in the stands and we can’t run and chase those balls down.”
With six games left in the regular season, Baylor volleyball takes on Texas Tech at 1 p.m. Saturday in Lubbock. The game can also be streamed on texastech.tv.