By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
Baylor volleyball (1-3) fought hard this weekend but ultimately came up short in back-to-back five-set matches against undefeated (RV) Tennessee (4-0) and No. 7 Pittsburgh (5-0).
Going into Friday night’s match, Tennessee had not lost a single set, sweeping each match 3-0. However, the Bears made it a very competitive and hard win for the Volunteers, who didn’t win a single set by more than the minimum two points.
The Bears took the first set. After a momentum-swinging block from senior opposite hitter Marieke van der Mark and senior setter Hannah Sedwick, Baylor finished with a convincing 25-17 win in the first set. The next two sets got away from the Bears as some costly errors and too-little-too-late surges had them drop both sets to the Vols 25-23.
Getting back in rhythm, Baylor flexed their dominance in the fourth set leading early on and not looking back. The Bears won the set 25-16. In the fifth and final set, senior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley reached the milestone of 2,000 career kills. However, they were unable to capitalize on that momentum and fell 15-13. The Vols won three sets to two.
“It’s awesome to reach this milestone and have 2,000 kills,” Pressley said. “I owe it all to my teammates; I wouldn’t be able to accomplish that without them and I’m so thankful that I’m here.”
“One thousand is a lot, 2,000 is twice as many, and so many have been special kills for her,” head coach Ryan McGuyre said. “Pretty exceptional kills and fun to watch. I feel pretty blessed to coach such an amazing athlete.”
Saturday night the Bears had another top-ten matchup against No. 7 Pittsburgh. In the first set, the Bears kept things close to start with a score of 9-9, but after multiple runs by the Panthers, Baylor fell 25-17.
In the second set the Bears rallied. Having a great game thanks to big plays from Pressley, they ran away with it 25-17. Carrying that high energy into the third set, they were able to strike first in a back-and-forth set. The close battle was ended by a kill from senior middle blocker Preslie Anderson to give Baylor a 25-23 win.
The two final sets got away from Baylor. After early mistakes the Bears lost the fourth set 25-19. The Bears then found themselves in a deciding fifth set for the second time. The Bears competed, keeping it tight for most of the set, with both teams met even at 11-11. The Panthers then took control, pulling ahead and winning 15-11 giving Pittsburgh the match 3-2.
Baylor volleyball continues their season at 7 p.m. on Friday in Florida to play the Gators (3-1) for two straight matches.