BU suffers first loss of season on opening night

Redshirt freshman defensive specialist Jena Kelly makes a serve during Baylor's five-set loss to Kansas Friday in Lawrence, Kan. The Bears will look to even things up in match two on Saturday, Photo courtesy of Kansas Athletics

By Matthew Soderberg | News Editor

Baylor volleyball didn’t go to a fifth set until its 18th match last season, but the Bears had their hands full in their season opener against Kansas Friday night. The Jayhawks doled out the first five-set loss for Baylor since Nov. 30, 2018.

The 25-19, 13-25, 22-25, 25-19, 9-15 defeat came without Hannah Sedwick, the Bears’ All-Big 12 setter, and it showed as Baylor’s hit percentage hovered below .100% in the three sets it lost.

Former National Player of the Year, senior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley had her worst hit percentage game since facing Texas in Austin on Sept. 26, 2018. Her nine kills and 11 errors on 33 attempts marked a -.061%.

Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Lauren Harrison shined in her debut with 15 kills and five errors on 31 attempts, while redshirt junior opposite Marieke van der Mark continued her hot streak from the end of last season with 14 kills and six errors on 25 attempts.

Baylor’s defense failed to step up throughout the last four sets, claiming only eight blocks on the night. Kara McGhee, former all-freshman selection and sophomore middle blocker, made a name for herself on offense with 12 kills and only one error on 20 attempts for a .550% hit percentage, but blocked only two balls through the five sets.

The Bears’ biggest flaw throughout the match was in the service game as they racked up 13 errors to only five aces.

After losing mainstays like Shelley Stafford, Tara Wulf, Braya Hunt and Gia Milana after their senior seasons, the team struggled to put together a dominant offensive stretch. After the match, head coach Ryan McGuyre said the team is still getting used to the new faces across the team.

“We’ve got to make some fixes. We’ve got to make sure we’re adjusting and playing a cleaner game start to finish. [There are] lots of new players in new roles, and we’ll keep growing.”

Baylor will look to bounce back Saturday evening against the same Jayhawk team. Next week, the Bears will make their home debut against TCU on Friday. That game will be aired on ESPNU.