By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer
In any normal year, Baylor volleyball would be getting ready to say goodbye to their star seniors at the end of the season.
Not this year.
Reigning national player of the year Yossiana Pressley and first team All-America selection Hannah Sedwick announced they’ll be coming back to Baylor in the fall, making use of their extra year of eligibility given to them by the NCAA in response to COVID-19.
“When we came to Baylor together in 2017, we knew that this was going to be something special,” Sedwick said in the video announcing the pair’s return. “We’ve seen this program soar to new heights.”
This will be Pressley and Sedwick’s fifth year with the Bears. Both have been incredibly impactful for the volleyball program during their time in Waco, helping turn Baylor into a national powerhouse. In 2019, Pressley and Sedwick were part of the Baylor team that reached the No. 1 spot in the AVCA poll for the first time in program history.
Pressley and Sedwick have left their names all over the Baylor record books, and this extra year will give them the chance to do even more. Pressley came into this season seventh in all-time Baylor kills, third in kills in the rally scoring era and fourth in attempts in the rally scoring era.
Sedwick, a setter, entered the season fifth in all-time assists, third in assists per set and third in rally scoring assists. It’s not often that one recruiting class has one player of that caliber let alone two. Now, Pressley and Sedwick have the chance to pour into a new generation of Bears, which is exactly what they’ve done.
“I’ve always looked up to Hannah [Sedwick], I’ve always looked up to Yossi, and I never thought that I’d be able to train with them or be teammates with them,” freshman setter Faith Lynch said. “This is a very unique situation, and they’re all very mature and very confident in themselves and carry themselves in a way on and off the court that is very inspiring to me.”
As impactful as their return will be on the court, Pressley and Sedwick have fallen in love with the culture of the Baylor volleyball program as a whole.
“[Having] different spiritual leaders throughout the athletic department definitely makes it different,” Sedwick said. “The girls on the team are amazing and have always been amazing in that they want you to be good at volleyball, yes, but more importantly, people do care about you as a person and your life after volleyball.”
In their time in Waco, the pair has certainly found more than their fair share of success on the floor, but they’ve also made long lasting memories off it.
“We’ve had a lot of great times, and we continue to have great times,” Pressley said. “I feel like the memories will just keep going, and our favorite memories could be made tomorrow, who knows?”
Both Pressley and Sedwick were key contributors in Baylor’s 2019 Final Four run, one of the defining moments in program history. During that run, Baylor took down storied programs such as then-No. 14 Purdue and No. 9 Washington before falling in the national semifinal to eventual runner-up Wisconsin.
In each of Baylor’s five tournament contests in 2019, Pressley posted double digit kills and Sedwick never dipped below 36 assists. Prolific numbers like those have helped make the pair one of the most feared one-two punches in volleyball, and they remain a big threat for any team in this year’s tournament.
Pressley and Sedwick will lead the Bears into another NCAA tournament run on April 15, as they await the winner of the showdown between UMBC and Pepperdine in the first round. Regardless of Baylor’s opponent, they’ll meet at 11 a.m. in Omaha, Neb.