Baylor comeback falls short in Austin

Senior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley strikes for a kill against Texas in Baylor's five set loss Thursday night in Austin. Pressley now holds the Baylor record for most kills in the rally scoring era, and second all-time. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer

Baylor volleyball was unable to pull off the comeback, dropping its third loss of the season to No. 1 Texas 22-25, 24-26, 29-27, 25-14, 15-6 despite the Bears’ momentum going into the fifth set.

Even in the midst of the loss, Baylor did have some bright spots. Senior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley continued her strong play, posting 32 kills and becoming Baylor’s all-time kill leader in the rally scoring era. Pressley’s jump up the list also puts her in the silver medal position regardless of era.

Senior setter Hannah Sedwick also came up big for the Bears, dealing out 39 assists, most on the team by 33. Sedwick also had 12 digs and six blocks. Leading the Bears in blocks, as usual, was sophomore middle blocker Kara McGhee, with nine. Junior libero Shanel Bramschreiber led Baylor in digs with 13.

“What a spectacular performance by Yossiana Pressley,” said head coach Ryan McGuyre. “Honestly, one of the greatest individual performances I’ve seen from an athlete at a lot of different levels, a lot of different countries. I was just really impressed with her ability to hit outside, back row, right side, middle and manage swings against big blocks from Texas. She just really did a tremendous job.”

Baylor’s comeback attempt was valiant, but high error numbers kept the Bears from competing at the level they have at other points in the season. Baylor had 26 total errors in the match, unusual for the country’s No. 3 team.

The first set was a close one throughout, with neither team ever gaining more than a three point advantage. Baylor led as late as the 22-20 mark, but a strong 5-0 run from the Longhorns was able to seal the deal on the opening set. Baylor seemed to have trouble containing the Texas attack late in the set, as four different UT players scored during the closing run.

The second set was another tight one, going to extra serves to determine a victor. Baylor was able to draw even with Texas at 24, but a pair of quick points from UT junior Logan Eggleston and redshirt sophomore Asjia O’Neal finished Baylor off.

Down two sets to none, chances looked slim for Baylor heading into the third set. Not to be deterred, the Bears clawed their way through their longest set of the season for a 29-27 win. Texas was able to put together multiple 4-0 runs in the back half of the match, but Baylor was able to remain calm and keep hopes of match victory alive. Back-to-back kills from Pressley closed the set and kept the door open for the Bears.

The fourth set saw a very different Baylor team than did the previous three. The Bears came out firing, jumping out to an 18-9 lead. An 11-2 run in the middle of the match had the Horns on their heels and all but gave Baylor the set win. After a disappointing start to the match, Baylor seemed to be in the driver’s seat.

The final set began with tensions high, both teams believing the match was theirs to win. Baylor, though, looked to have used all their energy in their ferocious comeback. Texas opened up a 7-2 lead on the Bears, one which Baylor would not recover from. Another 4-0 run later in the set secured both the set and the match for the Horns.

Despite Baylor’s 0-2 weekend, they still sit at No. 2 in the Big 12, and in position for a high seed in the spring’s NCAA championship tournament. The Bears will see the court again on Nov. 20 as they welcome the visiting Kansas State Wildcats to Waco for a pair of matches to close out the conference schedule. Those matches will air on Big 12 Now and ESPN+.