By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer
Baylor volleyball continued their road trip with a stop at Houston’s Fertitta Center to match up with the Houston Cougars in what would become a very competitive 3-2 win. The Bears, currently the nation’s No. 6 team, went a full five sets with the Coogs, who clock in at No. 8 in the NCAA RPI ratings.
The Bears saw a variety of contributors in the box score. Senior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley led the team in kills, digs and total points with 19, 17 and 21, respectively. Senior setter Hannah Sedwick was racking up assists all night long, finishing with 39. Junior setter Callie Williams finished second on the team with 11 assists, but also put up five service aces for Baylor, four more than any other player in the game. At the net, sophomore middle blocker Kara McGhee was a strong presence for the Bears, ending the night with five blocks, accompanied by Preslie Anderson, who finished with four blocks of her own.
The first set was a back-and-forth affair, as neither team could really pull away. A 4-0 run from Houston late to push the score to 21-16 was damaging for Baylor, and even though the Bears pulled back within striking distance at 22-18, the lead was insurmountable. A 3-0 run from the Cougars ended the set 25-18, giving Houston the 1-0 lead.
The second set began much the same as the first, but Baylor would be the team to go on a run and extend their lead. That, however, is where the similarities end. Baylor went on a 4-0 run to move the lead to 16-12. The Bears continued to lead all the way up to the 20-17 point in the set, when Houston rattled off a 5-0 run to take a 22-20 lead. Four of the five points scored on that run involved Baylor errors, never a positive sign for a contending team. Houston’s momentum gained from their scoring streak would carry them to another set win, this time 25-22.
Down 2-0, Baylor came out of the gates hot. A few quick kills had Baylor up 6-3 early, which segued into a 4-0 run to put the Bears up 10-3, the largest lead of the match to that point. Houston would cut the deficit to as little as four at multiple points in the third, but couldn’t get over the hump to catch Baylor. A 3-0 run finished off the set 25-17, and the tide began to turn.
If the start to third was hot, the fourth was scorching. Baylor was unstoppable to start, leaping out to a monster 12-1 advantage. In the entire rest of the set, Houston would fail to score as many points as Baylor did on their opening run. The third period ended in a 25-9 win and evened the match at two sets a piece.
Houston came out aggressive in the fifth and final period, but their fatigue was beginning to show. A 6-0 run from Baylor to build up a lead put the Cougars in a hole that would be too deep to climb out of. Houston would draw close again towards the end of the set, cutting the lead to 13-9, but Baylor was just too much. A 15-10 set win gave the Bears the match win in a phenomenal comeback.
Baylor will see the floor again on Friday, as they head to the Tudor Fieldhouse to take on Rice. The game is set for 6 p.m. on C-USA TV.