No. 10 Bears pounce on No. 1 Texas, winning in four sets

By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer, Video by Braden Murray | Broadcast Reporter

No. 10 Baylor took down No. 1 University of Texas in four sets to hand them their first loss of the season and improve to 14-5 overall and 8-2 in conference. The Bears have won seven of their last eight matches.

Baylor is now 4-87 against UT (18-1, 9-1 Big 12) with each win coming at home. Head coach Ryan McGuyre said he loves seeing the stands packed and soaks in moments where the crowd is going crazy, especially during a big win.

“To have our fans be louder than the Texas fans that showed up today was great, it was huge,” McGuyre said. “We say at all times, we’d love to multiply the joy. It was a great Baylor family win tonight with a loud and supportive Baylor family in the house.”

Senior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley was unstoppable as she finished with 24 kills on a .302 hitting percentage. Senior setter Hannah Sedwick also had a big night with 41 assists and 13 digs. It was a team effort as the Bears had three other players with eight or more kills including senior outside hitter Avery Skinner who also piled in 13 digs. McGuyre said the win was a big win for the team and their confidence and said Pressley plays better in bigger moments and matches.

“It’s huge for the girls,” McGuyre said. “I’ve been waiting all year for our identity to emerge and it came out like a healthy, joyful growl … When the bright lights come on, the brightest players shine. This is the atmosphere [Pressley] is going to flourish in and she’s going to continue to do that her whole career.”

The first set started with quick back-and-forth action, Everyone contributed early on, as kills came from Pressley, Skinner, and Sedwick. Neither team was able to pull away early as the teams were tied at 7. However, the Bears started to roll as they went on a 6-2 run to take the lead 13-9, forcing a UT timeout. Out of the timeout, Baylor continue to put the pressure on UT with multiple kills from Pressley helping the Bears increase their lead to 18-9. The Longhorns didn’t go away quietly though as they went on a 4-1 run, but Pressley kept momentum on Baylor’s side with multiple high-flying kills to put Baylor up 21-14. As play continued, the teams were evenly matched but Baylor took set-point at 24-18. The Longhorns put together a 5-0 run to cut the lead to one and make Baylor sweat at 24-23. The Bears were able to halt the comeback attempt and take the set 25-23.

Texas applied pressure right away, jumping out to a 5-1 lead before a Baylor timeout in the second set. A kill from Pressley momentarily stopped the run, but UT kept pouncing and forced the Bears to call another timeout with the score at 9-2. The teams alternated points, but Baylor’s offense could get little to nothing going as majority of their points came from UT service errors. The Longhorns lead grew to 10 points at 19-9. The Bears tried to bring life back into the set with a 7-1 run, decreasing the deficit to 20-16. Baylor had momentum back on its side going into a Texas timeout down just three at 21-18, however following the break, UT closed with a 4-point run to win the set 25-18.

In the third set, Baylor took their first lead since the first set at 2-1. From there the teams began trading kills to be tied at five. UT looked to separate themselves with a 3-0 run to go up 8-5, but Baylor responded with tough play. Junior outside hitter Lauren Harrison came alive with a big block and kill to cut the lead to one at 10-9. Tremendous effort in a long rally had the Ferrell Center ecstatic and on their feet as Baylor tied the set at 10. The Baylor fans continued their emphatic cheers as the Bears took a 15-13 lead. Both squads exchanged points but the Bears went up 23-18 with the help of several kills from Pressley. Harrison had two booming kills to help Baylor close out the set and win 25-20.

To begin the fourth set, the teams combined for four service errors until Pressley’s kill gave Baylor a 6-5 lead. Neither team was able to create a lead larger than one point until Baylor led 12-10. The Longhorns put together a quick 4-1 run to take their first lead since the start of the set at 14-13. Junior middle blocker Kara McGhee had a big set as she came away with momentum-swinging kills, including a kill to put Baylor up 18-16. McGhee struck again to halt a UT run and tie the set at 19. The teams traded points in a thrilling back-and-forth until the teams were tied at 23. UT took set point but a thunderous kill by Skinner kept the Bears in the game at 24-24. Baylor called their final timeout after UT took a 28-27 adavantage. The epic back-and-forth continued as the teams traded kills to stay tied at 30. Pressley’s kills helped Baylor topple Texas 32-30, to win the set and the match.

“We had to scrape and scrap to make a lot of plays happen,” McGuyre said. “Proud of this team and love this team. We still feel that our best volleyball is ahead of us.”

Next week the Bears travel to Fort Worth to take on TCU at 6:30 p.m. Friday, in Schollmaier Arena.