By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
No. 1 Baylor volleyball lost their 11th set of the season Tuesday against West Virginia but bounced back for a 3-1 (30-32, 25-23, 25-22, 25-17) win. The Bears scratched out the victory despite a .205 hitting percentage, their third-lowest in a victory this season.
Baylor began the match with a 5-0 run to pounce on the Mountaineers early but that lead dwindled to 13-11 before another 5-0 run sparked a commanding 18-11 hold in the first set. The team’s play began to dwindle from that point, allowing an 11-2 run for West Virginia before Baylor quelled that with a 3-0 spurt. From there it was a battle as the Bears faced down four set points, but succumbed on the fifth at 30-32.
Baylor committed nine errors on 53 attempts in the first set, and with West Virginia’s back-line play, they struggled to get hits down. The Bears’ kill percentage (K/TA) was 50 points lower than their counterparts across the floor, showing just how well the Mountaineers defended in that set.
Baylor just couldn’t hold onto any momentum in the following two sets. The Bears were down for over half of the second set, and only won on a service error. The third was more encouraging with a five-point cushion holding up until the final few points.
The Bears played truer to Baylor volleyball standard in the fourth set. They rushed to a 5-1 lead and eventually extended that to 18-11. Once again, West Virginia showed signs of life, running off four-straight points, but Baylor finished the match on a 7-2 run to clinch the best conference record in program history (14-1).
Junior outside hitter and Player of the Year candidate Yossiana Pressley notched 24 kills on 63 attempts in the win. Pressley also grabbed 13 digs, along with her seventh double-double of the season. Senior libero Tara Wulf and junior setter Hannah Lockin also earned 13 kills each, and Lockin got her 12th double-double of the year thanks to her 46 assists.
Senior outside hitter Gia Milana added 13 kills for her sixth double-digit kill match of the season, and fifth-year senior Shelly Stafford and redshirt-sophomore opposite Marieke van der Mark killed nine and six balls, respectively, and had seven blocks each.
The Bears will play at home for the final time in the regular season at 2 p.m. Saturday for a matchup in the Ferrell Center against unranked rival TCU. With a win on Senior Day, Baylor can clinch its first conference championship in program history.