Baylor volleyball gears up for Big 12 title defense

Nate Smith | Broadcast Reporter

The defending Big-12 champions are back!

After the longest offseason in school history, the Bear volleyball squad is getting ready for their season opener against the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence on Friday.

Head Coach Ryan McGuyre and the Bears are coming off of the best season in school history, but opposite Marieke van der Mark feels that the team still has plenty left to prove.

“For me personally, I just want to show everyone that it wasn’t a fluke last year,” van der Mark said. “We’re all here to show that we’re here to stay.”

Baylor returns 5 starters this season, including reigning national player of the year Yossiana Pressley and preseason All-Big 12 selections Hannah Sedwick and van der Mark.

The team also added five newcomers to the group in transfers Laché Harper, Lauren Harrison and Andressa Parise to go along with freshmen Casie Davis and Giselle Vogel.

“The biggest strength of this team is how diverse we are,” Pressley said. “We have 19 people in the gym right now, so we get to have more reps and we get to have people’s abilities shine through.”

The Jayhawks were in the middle of the pack in the Big-12 last year. They finished 6th in the conference with a 9-17 record overall. Kansas is only returning three starters, but they are adding some experience in transfer hitters Paige Shaw, Jenny Mosser and Anezka Szabo.

“Kansas will know more about us than we’ll know about them for sure, just because we have returners going out there,” McGuyre said. “They’re going to be a lot different than last year, but honestly I think they’ve upgraded in all of those positions.”

The Bears will kick off the first of their eight weekend series with Big 12 opponents this Friday before they finish their season series with the Jayhawks on Saturday.