By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer
After one of the season’s most competitive matches with Texas Tech, Baylor volleyball is continuing their road stint with a stop in Ames to face off against Iowa State.
“I love experiencing new gyms, and seeing how we respond to another atmosphere, so I don’t mind it,” senior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley said.
Pressley has been key for the Bears all season, and currently leads the team in points, with a total of 148.5, averaging almost five per set. Pressley, last year’s AVCA National Player of the Year, has dealt with some injury issues lately, but is making progress as the season goes.
“She’s a little ways off, but I think when she gets there she’s gonna pass it,” head coach Ryan McGuyre said.
Heading into the Iowa State matches, the team has an idea of what to expect. Pressley said the Bears look to be consistent, contribute solid blocking and keep their error percentage down.
The Cyclones do have solid blocking numbers, averaging 1.81 blocks per set, good for No. 39 in the country. Baylor averages 2.1 per set, tying for No. 21 with Arkansas, Coastal Carolina, and UT Arlington.
Baylor middle blocker Laché Harper has been a large part of that blocking success for the Bears, averaging 1.09 blocks per set on her own. If Harper counted as her own team, she would rank No. 53, just ahead of Mercer. Harper’s dominance has been recognized, as she was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week.
“That meant a lot to me, but we just gotta keep building on that, so don’t let that be the [high point],” Harper said.
Despite Baylor’s No. 2 overall ranking in the AVCA poll, McGuyre feels they aren’t the best version of themselves yet.
“I still don’t feel we’ve found our identity yet, as a team,” McGuyre said. “I could look at almost all the teams I’ve coached and say ‘Here’s when we arrived at our identity, here’s what our identity was,’ and we’re still searching a little bit.”
Both of Baylor’s matches with ISU will be played in the Cyclones’ Hilton Coliseum, where Baylor is 4-0 since 2016. The matches will start at 6:30 p.m. Friday and at 4 p.m Saturday and will be available to stream on Big 12 Now and ESPN+.