No. 14 Baylor volleyball overcomes TCU in four-set slugfest

By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer, Joe Pratt | LTVN Sports Director

No. 14 Baylor volleyball came out victorious in its conference opener, defeating TCU in four sets. The Bears have now won 10-straight games this season and 11-straight over TCU. This win marked the 500th career win for head coach Ryan McGuyre, and the team rained confetti over him after the match to celebrate.

“Fun to cherish the moment, 500 is a lot, it’s a milestone,” McGuyre said. “All of us are going to make mistakes, myself included, but that doesn’t limit our ability to have a significant impact in each other’s lives and those we come across so for me it is memorable.”

Riley Simpson (#14) spiking the ball against
Riley Simpson (#14) spiking the ball against Texas Christian University. Grace Everett | Photo Editor

Freshmen opposite side hitters Allie Sczech and Riley Simpson took charge for the Bears. Sczech finished with 12 kills and six blocks, both career-highs, as Simpson finished with 11 kills. Senior middle blocker Mallory Talbert piled in 10 kills of her own as well as four blocks. Sczech credited her success to her chemistry with freshman setter Averi Carlson.

“This preseason, me and Averi tried to figure out our connection and what we needed to do better to take it to the next level,” Sczech said. “We’ve really been coming in, getting extra reps, and staying after practice and doing what we need to do to reach that goal. Tonight was just a portrayal of everything we’ve been working for.”

Carlson anchored the offense, finishing with 40 assists. Sophomore libero Lauren Briseño had a standout performance where she tallied six aces, all coming at pivotal moments of the match to go along with her 10 digs.

Baylor struck immediately, getting the “Go Gold” Ferrell Center fans rocking with a booming kill to start the first set. However, the set quickly became back-and-forth and after trading multiple kills, the squads remained tied at 10-10. The Bears really came alive at this point, going on a 6-1 run capped off with back-to-back aces from Briseño, forcing TCU to take its first timeout. Out of the break, the fans were ecstatic and Baylor continued to run away with the set, forcing another stoppage at 19-11. Briseño came back with her third ace of the set, and free t-shirts flew all around the stadium as Baylor capped off the set with a 15-3 run to take it 25-13.

Allie Sczech (#4) blocking a hit from Texas Christian University. Grace Everett | Photo Editor
Allie Sczech (#4) blocking a hit from Texas Christian University. Grace Everett | Photo Editor

Baylor picked up where it left off in the second set, taking an early 7-3 lead and getting the crowd on their feet. TCU finally slowed the Bears’ momentum and was able to bring the set to 9-8, which Baylor responded to with a short 3-0 run to widen the gap a bit at 12-8. As play continued, things remained tight as TCU fought to take its first lead of the set at 20-19. After going down 22-19, the Bears found a quick 3-0 run with Briseño coming through big with another ace to tie things up. Baylor regained the tally after a huge block, taking a one-point advantage at 25-24. Neither team let their foot off the gas, but Baylor was ultimately able to win the tug of war at 29-27.

TCU began the third set with a 7-1 run, taking its largest lead of the match. Baylor was able to get little to nothing going as the Horned Frogs only widened the gap, taking a 12-3 lead. Woes continued for the Bears as they found themselves down 18-7 late in the set. Every time Baylor was able to find momentum, TCU was able to cut it off, leading to a 25-15 set loss for the Bears. It was the first set they’ve dropped in their last 27.

Baylor got on the board first to start the fourth set, its first lead since the second set, jumping ahead 3-1. The Bears had to claw for every point and neither team separated from the other early on. However, they stayed on the attack and the audience got electric as Baylor used a quick run to go up 13-8. Keeping things rolling and the Bears carried this upswing of momentum to a 17-10 lead. TCU never stopped battling though, bringing itself back in striking distance at 19-16 before a Baylor timeout. Senior middle blocker Kara McGhee then decided it was her turn to leave her imprint on the game, with a kill and back-to-back blocks to put the Bears up 22-16. Briseño’s sixth ace of the night brought Baylor to match-point where it closed out the match with a 25-19 win.

Up next, the Bears head to Ames, Iowa, to face Iowa State at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Hilton Coliseum. The contest can be watched on ESPN2.