By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer
It’s no accident Baylor volleyball has become a powerhouse in recent years.
The Bears have developed a number of star players in the past few seasons, including 2019 National Player of the Year Yossiana Pressley. Pressley’s teammates had their fair share of success too, as she was joined by All-Americans like Hannah Sedwick and Shelly Stafford. Baylor is looking to continue its winning ways with their 2021 recruiting class, the largest class in school history.
The class is comprised of nine high school athletes and one graduate transfer, all of whom will have a chance to make an impact on Baylor’s 2021-22 season.
“Really feel like we hit a home run with this group, we touched on every position, so I think we’ve got some future All-Americans in this group,” head coach Ryan McGuyre said. “It’s a large class, obviously, so I think them, with the [2022 class] right behind them will be that next core wave.”
In a normal year, a recruiting class would step into the shoes of that year’s graduating seniors. As with everything in 2020, things will look a little different. The NCAA has allowed this year’s seniors to return for an additional year, which McGuyre expects his seniors to take advantage of.
“These girls are all going to get to see how Yossi plays, how Yossi trains,” McGuyre said. “To me, [the freshmen] will be able to pour those talents in, but also see what Yossi brings as well. It’s a win-win.”
One of the things this new crop of athletes will bring to the team is something you can’t teach — size. Assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Samantha Eger was floored by the physical gifts of the incoming freshmen.
“Not only is this class large, they are physically large,” Eger said. “We are going to be so big, that’s exciting for me. We’ve had years where we’ve been very successful with smaller players, but it’s fun to get some size. Three of these girls are 6-foot 4 inches or taller.”
That imposing size will be a welcome addition to the team, as the Bears only have three players of that height currently. As nice as their physical abilities are, this class brings just as much off the court as they do on it.
“The quality of people they are … across the board family-wise, they just add to the family,” McGuyre said.
One of the bigger victories with this class was Baylor’s success in landing a recruit from Big 10 country, as the Big 10’s storied volleyball programs often land the midwest’s best and brightest recruits.
“That’s a challenge, because usually those girls who are good enough to help us are really recruited heavily by that good, good volleyball conference. There’s a lot of good choices up there,” Eger said. “So, to bring someone in that I feel could help almost any of those schools, for her to choose Baylor, was awesome.”
Details about Baylor’s full class can be found below. The Bears have an additional recruit who has yet to be cleared by the compliance office.
Alicia Andrew | Middle Blocker | Ridgefield, Wash. | Ridgefield HS | 6’4”
Kaitlyn Riley – Middle Blocker – Delafield, Wis. | Catholic Memorial HS | 6’0”
Ava Grace Haggard | Middle Blocker | Prosper | McKinney Christian Academy | 6’1”
Preslie Anderson | Middle Blocker | Chandler, Ariz. | Cal | 6’2”
Molly Kipp | Setter | Phoenix, Ariz. | Northwest Christian School | 5’11”
Faith Lynch | Setter/Defensive Specialist | Magnolia | Magnolia HS | 5’7”
Keagan Polk | Libero/Defensive Specialist | Southlake | Carroll HS | 5’8”
Elise McGhee | Opposite Hitter | San Antonio | Clark HS | 6’2”
Riley Simpson | Outside/Opposite Hitter | Colorado Springs, Colo. | Rampart HS | 6’3”