By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
No. 11 Baylor volleyball moved to 21-4 (10-2 Big 12) after a sweep of the University of Kansas Saturday afternoon in the Ferrell Center. The Bears have now defeated the Jayhawks in both meetings this year, including a five-set contest last time they faced off. On Saturday, Baylor went 25-21, 25-21, 25-19.
“Great to get the 3-0 sweep on a good, good, good Kansas team,” head coach Ryan McGuyre said. “They’re a tournament team, they’re tough, they’re strong. I felt like we had control of all the sets and maybe let things linger around. I thought we could’ve executed better on offense, but to keep them to 10%, I like what we’re doing defensively.”
Senior outside hitter Lauren Harrison led all players with 16 kills, followed by sophomore outside hitter Elise McGhee with 10. The pair each finished with two blocks as well. Freshman setter Averi Carlson finished with 39 assists and contributed two aces. The Bears held the Jayhawks to a .105 hitting percentage throughout three sets.
Harrison didn’t waste time making her mark on the match with a thunderous first kill to get the Bears on the board first. This helped jumpstart Baylor to take an early 9-5 lead over Kansas. The Jayhawks stayed competitive and came back to take a one-point lead at 13-12. The Bears quickly recaptured the lead after back-to-back kills from Harrison, who had six midway through the first set.
“Not just today, but that’s something we learned from preseason that if we can get [Harrison] going earlier, it helps her be in rhythm,” McGuyre said. “She’s got a cannon, so if teams don’t stop her at the net then Wilson balls are going to get killed.”
Kansas led 15-14 going into the media timeout. Play remained tight as things continued and the teams were consistently trading points as Baylor led 21-19 before a Kansas timeout. The Bears rode eventual momentum to a 25-21 first set victory.
The second set started similar to how the first set played out, with lots of back-and-forth action and neither team really able to separate itself. With both squads scrapping for every point, the set was tied at a gritty 5-5. From here, Kansas scored four consecutive points to jump ahead 9-5. Baylor refused to fall into a hole, as it responded with a 4-1 and continued to fight to recapture the lead at 15-13 before the media timeout. The Bears remained in control the rest of the set, and carved out another 25-21 win.
Baylor came out hot in the third set, building a three-point advantage quickly at 6-3. The Jayhawks stayed in it and were able to cut the lead to one point at 9-8, prompting Harrison to ignite for multiple kills to help the Bears pull ahead 12-8. Kansas responded once again with a 7-1 run to take a 15-13 lead. Continuing the match of runs, Baylor answered with a 6-1 run to retake control of momentum with a 19-16 advantage. The Bears didn’t look back and completed the sweep of the Jayhawks 25-19.
Baylor gets back on the road Saturday, this time to Fort Worth for a conference match against Texas Christian University. The match is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on ESPN+ from the Schollmaier Arena.