By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer
On the heels of back-to-back sweeps against TCU, Baylor volleyball is set to bring Oklahoma to the Ferrell Center for a pair of matches this week.
Junior libero/defensive specialist Shanel Bramschreiber, who totaled 28 digs over two matches against TCU last weekend, said the Bears will have to keep the same energy from their last two matches when facing the Sooners.
“OU is a really good team, so I think we’re gonna have to play smart just like we did with TCU, make sure that we keep them out of system,” Bramschreiber said. “We do have some film on them this time, which is great.”
Bramschreiber’s success this season is coming at a new spot on the floor, after shifting to libero from defensive specialist. Head coach Ryan McGuyre said it came as no surprise to him.
“Shanel has always been comfortable at the libero, that was the position we recruited her to come and play here,” McGuyre said. “If anything there was some difficult adaptation for her to play middle back and not be the [libero].”
Through two matches this season, Oklahoma has an attack percentage of 15.1%, well below Baylor’s rate of 36.3 %, the highest mark in the nation.
“We take pride in our defense, so blocking and digging is really gonna have to step up, even if the numbers do say they’re low,” Bramschreiber said.
The Sooners went to a full five sets against the Bears in Norman, Okla., last season. The only other team to play five sets against Baylor in 2019 was Texas, now the No. 1 team in the AVCA poll.
“They’re a team that matches up well with us, their strengths are where our strengths are, so we can go back and forth a little bit,” McGuyre said.
Due to COVID restrictions, scheduling has looked very different for a lot of teams, but that hasn’t deterred the Bears from making progress during the season. This weekend’s matches with OU will be Baylor’s third consecutive week with matches, while the Bears have yet to play an opponent who had a match the previous week.
“Each girl wants to be better individually, and then when it comes to execution and gameplan we’re a little bit sharper there as well,” McGuyre said.
The Bears are still dealing with a few injuries, including senior All-American setter Hannah Sedwick. McGuyre said the team has been working to continue to keep their players healthy.
“We’re still a little bit beat up, so we’re looking forward to those that have been training well to shine this weekend,” McGuyre said. “We’re gonna get some more playing time from some different people this weekend as we’re trying to keep our pins healthy.”
Both matches against Oklahoma will start at 5 p.m., and are streamable on ESPNU, ESPN+ and Big 12 Now. Baylor students with valid student IDs can attend the game free of charge. Other fans can arrive early and grab one of 700 available in-person tickets.