No. 18 Baylor volleyball loses straight sets to No. 10 BYU in Big 12 opener

No. 18 Baylor volleyball fell in straight sets to No. 10 BYU on Saturday at the Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Jackson Posey | Sports Writer

No. 18 Baylor volleyball lost its Big 12 conference opener to No. 10 BYU Saturday 3-0 at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah.

With season kills leader and freshman outside hitter Kyndal Stowers out, sophomore opposite hitter Allie Sczech and junior outside hitter Elise McGhee led the Bears (6-5, 0-1 Big 12) with eight kills apiece. Sophomore setter Averi Carlson finished with 27 assists and two aces.

The Bears fell behind early, as BYU (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) graduate student libero Aria McComber opened the game with a service ace. Following an 8-1 Cougar run to go up 13-5, Baylor went on a scoring streak of its own, as McGhee recorded three straight kills to bring the game within four. A service ace from sophomore defensive specialist Alexis Dacosta dropped the lead to two, but BYU finished the set on a 10-4 run, including four straight kills to close it out.

Baylor kept the next set close and remained tied as late as 12-12. But the Bears only strung together consecutive kills once during the second set, and they struggled to create any separation. The Cougars finished the frame on an 8-2 run, including three straight assists by senior setter Whitney Bower.

The third set looked promising, as an attack error by senior outside hitter Erin Livingston and consecutive service aces by Carlson gave the Bears a 3-0 lead, their first lead of the match. Another service ace by junior libero and defensive specialist Lauren Briseño brought the lead back to three, but before long, BYU turned on the jets. A 4-0 Cougar run — punctuated by a service ace —prompted a Baylor timeout, and the following 7-1 run resulted in another pause.

The Cougars put together an 11-2 run across multiple timeouts, turning a 9-6 deficit into a 20-11 lead. They finished the set on another 4-0 run, including multiple service aces, to win their second Big 12 home game in program history.

The Bears finished the match with their fewest points of the season (38) and just a .121 hitting percentage, their lowest since early-season matchups with then-No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 7 Minnesota. They also allowed a season-high .387 attack percentage as the Cougars recorded just 10 errors, tied for best among Baylor opponents this season.

After Saturday’s loss, the Bears will get a week off before a weekend doubleheader at Iowa State on Sept. 30.