Dec. 4, 2009
LOS ANGELES - Baylor earned a spot in the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a first-round sweep (25-17, 25-22, 25-22) of Georgia Tech in Los Angeles, Calif., on Friday night. The win is just the second NCAA Tournament victory in program history, and first since 1999.
"I am proud of our players and coaches," head coach Jim Barnes said. "Its all of the work we have put in and I am glad to see it pay off here tonight. We are healthy and we are playing our best volleyball of the season."
Baylor took control of the match early in the first set, then held off each charge that Georgia Tech was able to put together. Katie Sanders was the only Baylor player in double digits with 10 kills. Senior setter Taylor Barnes filled the stat sheet with 29 assists, four kills, five digs, and two service aces.
The Baylor offense hit a spectacular .289 (39-13-91) and the defense held the Georgia Tech to just .207 (39-20-92). The Bears controlled play with their blocking game, totaling 9.0 blocks in the match. Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Anna Breyfogle and middle blocker Elizabeth Graham each totaled six block assists.
"We were disciplined tonight, and we stayed on the girls about playing every point," Barnes said. "Our seniors did a good job of not letting us lose focus. We kept the pressure on them, and if you keep the pressure on a good team you can eventually get them to break down."
The first set of the match started off toe-to-toe with the teams trading points until Baylor broke away with the score tied at 11-11. The Bears strung together three straight points, including a block assist by Breyfogle and Graham and a Barnes second-touch kill. Georgia Tech battled back to tie it at 15-15, but a Torri Campbell and a Breyfogle service ace put Baylor back in control at 18-15. From there, Baylor went on a 6-0 run on the strength of two Barnes service aces sandwiched around a two kills by Campbell. Sanders finished off the set with a kill to make it 25-17.
In the second set, Chrissy DeMichelis got GT off to a 3-0 start, but Baylor answered with a 9-1 run. During the span, Graham had two kills and a block assist with Breyfogle to get the Bears back in control. Baylor held its five-point advantage until 20-15, when the Yellowjackets came out of a timeout with a 4-1 run to tie the score at 22-22. Baylor ripped off the next three points with two kills from Campbell around a GT error to take a commanding 2-0 lead.
Campbell picked up where she left off in the third set, getting Baylor out to a 3-1 lead with two kills. Baylor took a 14-10 advantage after a GT error, but the Yellowjackets didn't go away, getting back to within two at 16-14. Baylor pushed the lead back to four at 21-17 with back-to-back kills by Sanders. Sanders added another kill before Ashlie Christenson finished off the match with a kill of her own.
The win marked the 100th for Jim Barnes in his six seasons as the Baylor coach.
Baylor (23-9) advances to the second round of the NCAA Championships where they'll face host and ninth-ranked UCLA, who swept Long Beach State to improve to 24-8 on the season. The second round match is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT/9 p.m. CT on Saturday, Dec. 5.