Oct. 1, 2011
WACO, Texas - Baylor's volleyball team put together a stout defense at the net and in the back row, along with just enough offense, to get by Kansas 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-17, 25-22) for its first Big 12 win of the season on Saturday at the Ferrell Center.
Baylor (12-6, 1-3) avoided an 0-4 conference start and came from behind late in the first and fourth sets to down the Jayhawks (11-4, 0-3). Baylor faced a deficit of 22-20 in the first set, then was down 22-18 in the fourth, coming back to win both and keep KU winless in Big 12 play.
"It wasn't easy tonight, we had to come back from down three or four points late in the game," head coach Jim Barnes said. "I think we showed a lot of character and a lot fight, and it paid off. This (Kansas) is a good team, and they are very talented. We finally played with the sense of urgency that we have talked a lot about. That's what we need to maintain."
As a team, Baylor relied heavily on its net defense and back-row play, racking up 10 total blocks and a season-best 90 digs. Senior Briana Tolbert tallied a season-high seven block assists, while seniors Allison King was one of five players with at least 10 digs, notching 24. Senior Qian Zhang added 21 digs, while junior Kate Harris had 13. Senior Jordan Rice had a season-high 12 and sophomore Kayci Evans had 11.
"[Zoe's production] was crucial," Barnes said. "We saw some things in practice, and we thought she could come in and have a good night. She didn't make many errors, and that's a big part of what we ask from Zoe."
On offense, Harris got her second-straight start at setter and recorded another career-high with 48 assists, also earning her a second consecutive double-double. Sophomore Zoe Adom had a big first set with seven kills and went on to total a team-best 17 in the match. Junior Torri Campbell and Tolbert each had 11 kills, while Tolbert did so with an error to hit .407.
After Baylor jumped out to a 3-1 lead on a kill by Tolbert in the first, Kansas came back to build a 10-7 lead. But, the Bears responded with three in a row included an out-of-system kill by Evans that rolled over the top of the net. The teams traded sideouts until Kansas went ahead 22-20, but Baylor answered with a 5-1 run to win the set. Alyssa Dibbern collected a kill and Tolbert was in on back-to-back block assists during the run to a 25-23 win.
In the second, KU built leads of 19-14 and 21-17, but Baylor made a late run to put pressure on the Jayhawks. The Bears got kills by Harris and Tolbert to tied the score at 22-22, but KU to advantage of two BU errors to win the set 25-23.
In the third, Baylor turned a 3-3 tie into a 13-7 lead, score 10 of 14 points on the strength of two kills by Tolbert and a pair of block assists from Tolbert and substitute freshman Nicole Bardaji. After KU closed to within four at 19-15, Baylor got a kill from Campbell and a service ace from Zhang to extend the lead back to six. Tolbert and Adom the combined to block KU's Caroline Jarmoc to end the set with a 25-17 win.
The fourth set was nearly the same as the first, as Baylor got a Zhang service ace and a kill by Adom to build a 3-0 lead. Kansas then came back to tie the match at 7-7 before trading one-point leads until taking a 17-15 lead. The Jayhawks then extended the lead to 22-18, but Baylor pieced together a 7-0 run including two kills and a block by Campbell to finish it off 25-22.
In the second of a four-match homestand, Baylor will face Texas Tech on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Ferrell Center. Baylor brings a 12-match win streak over the Red Raiders into the match.