No. 3 volleyball scrapes by Kansas in sweep

By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer, Video by Nate Smith | Broadcast Reporter

No. 3 Baylor volleyball gets to sleep easy after another sweep (25-19, 26-24, 25-18) over the Jayhawks Wednesday at the Ferrell Center. It was another good showing from the offense, as the Bears have now hit over .330 in each of their last three matches.

Before the Longhorns come to town on Nov. 20, the third-ranked team in the country got another tune-up match, and one it seems they badly needed. Head coach Ryan McGuyre said they didn’t play to their potential in the win.

“We didn’t pass well at all tonight … so it was a combination of everything. You know, we say you’ve got to play 100% to be really, really good, and yeah, I’m frustrated,” McGuyre said. “You know, we’re supposed to know one way to play. We dropped to 99% and then it’s not so sharp.”

The Bears made easy work of Kansas in the first set, but they got in trouble throughout the second. After 38 points, the score was knotted at 19 all, but the Jayhawks ran off four straight to take a commanding lead with only two points needed to tie up the match.

Baylor cleaned itself up, scoring two of their own to force a Kansas timeout. Junior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley then committed an error, forcing three-straight set points for the road squad.

It didn’t seem to matter, though, as graduate middle blocker Shelly Stafford stepped in with a kill, and then rattled off four serves to put the Jayhawks out of system and win the set. After the match, Stafford said the success under pressure comes down to her clutch presence.

“You can ask everyone, I have such a ‘go for it’ mentality. [I have] like, a ton of confidence. Probably more than I should have. Even [assistant coach] Jason (Williams) was like, ‘Man, you really like, you just went for it on the last one, but, like, went for it controlled,'” Stafford said.

As a senior, she also only has three more matches in Big 12 conference play in her career. She said the feelings of this final season also played a part in those serves.

“I don’t have another chance to win that game ever again in this gym,” Stafford said. “So, I think it really does help that I was a senior and I really wanted that in that moment.”

The next match is the big rematch with No. 1 Texas after the stomping the Longhorns gave Baylor in Austin. McGuyre said that his team has done all it can to prepare for the big stage.

“We’re going to be ready for Texas and be excited about it. It’s a November match. It has some fun bonuses to it, but it’s the match we need to get ready for December,” McGuyre said.

The Bears will host the Longhorns at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Ferrell Center for what will likely decide the Big 12 championship. The game can also be streamed on the ESPN+ through the ESPN app.