Oct. 23, 2004
WACO, Texas - Aggressive blocking led to a solid defensive effort to keep Baylor close, but the Bears couldn't muster enough offense in a 3-1 (19-30, 30-28, 18-30, 26-30) loss to No. 4 Nebraska Saturday night at the Ferrell Center.
"We improved our play tonight, that's what we've been focusing on is improving every time we take the floor," head coach Jim Barnes said. "If we keep getting better, we can catch these (ranked) teams. Our game plan was to come out and frustrate them - serve them short and make them pass - and make them do things that they don't want to do. If our offense was clicking better we could have beat this team, we just need to keep working."
Sophomore right-side hitter Nicole LeBlanc (Tampa, Fla.) fell short of a triple-double for the second time this season, hitting .324 with a team-high 13 kills, 11 blocks and nine digs to lead the Bears (10-11, 3-8 Big 12). Junior outside hitters Stella Odion (Houston, Texas) and Kelly Spriggs (Houston, Texas) each added nine kills. Junior setter Emily Huston (Santa Rosa, Calif.) had 34 assists and a career-high 17 digs. Junior middle blocker Adeline Meira (Sao Paulo, Brazil) posted 11 blocks, the third time this season she has recorded 10 or more.
Sarah Pavan hit .326 with 24 kills to lead four Nebraska (17-1, 11-0) players with double-digit kills. Melissa Elmer hit .423 with 13 kills, while Dani Mancuso had 12 kills and Tracy Stalls had 10 kills and 10 digs. Jennifer Saleaumua had a match-high 24 digs, while Dani Busboom and Amanda McCormick had 11 digs each.
Neither team came out with a bang in game one with the Huskers hitting .111 and the Bears hitting .000 with only seven kills. Nebraska took advantage of some early attack errors by the Bears to build a steady lead and take game one, 30-19.
The Bears gained momentum in game two when back-to-back blocks by both Meira and LeBlanc and an ace by Huston gave Baylor a 16-10 lead. Nebraska fought back to tie the game at 22, then took a 26-25 lead. Baylor won three-straight points to go up 29-27 and after a sideout by the Huskers, the Bears tied the match at a game apiece on a Husker service error, 30-28. It was only the third game in 19 matches against Nebraska the Bears had won a game.
Game three was all Nebraska as it scored the first three points. The Huskers pushed the lead to 19-5 with a 12-1 run, aided by a host of Baylor attack errors. A 6-0 run by the Bears at game point made the score respectable at 30-18. Nebraska hit .303 for the game, while holding Baylor to .000 for the second time in the match.
Baylor hung with Nebraska all of game four, but could never get over the hump. The Huskers took a pair of five-point leads at 9-4 and 22-17, but never led by more than four the rest of the game. Baylor cut Nebraska's lead to one at 26-25, but the Huskers gave themselves a cushion by scoring the next two points. Nebraska hit .273 compared to .111 for Baylor to put the match away, 30-26.
The Bears outblocked the Big 12's top blocking team, 14-11, but the Huskers outdug the Bears, 72-56.
The Bears will make a "Texas Swing" this week with three intrastate road matches. Baylor returns to action against Texas Tech Wednesday night in Lubbock, before facing Texas Saturday night in Austin and Texas-San Antonio in an afternoon non-conference tilt Sunday in San Antonio.