April 10, 2014
WACO, Texas - The Baylor volleyball has posted a 5-1 record during its non-tradition spring offseason in preparation for the 2014 season. BU played host to UT Arlington last weekend and took a pair of wins before heading to Houston where the Bears went 3-1 April 4-5.
Baylor took victories over Texas A&M, Sam Houston, and Oklahoma with its only blemish in a loss to Rice in last weekend's tournament.
"Overall we are happy with how much we are improving. We are better in every phase of the game, and we are physically much stronger and quicker as a team," said Baylor head coach Jim Barnes. "It's encouraging to play well without some of our key players that are recovering from injury, and it's helping us lay the ground work for a very successful 2014 season."
Baylor is playing without Katie Staiger, Thea Munch-Soegaard and Andie Malloy this spring; the former two are still recovering from season-ending injuries carried over from the fall while Malloy is having to sit out two full semesters due to Big 12 transfer rules. Malloy will have two seasons of eligibility remaining in the Fall of 2014 after she played her freshman season at Iowa State.
Laura Jones, Baylor's returning leader in kills, is having a big spring with 44 kills through six matches while fellow returnees Nicole Bardaji and Sam Hill have 42 and 37 apiece. Hope Ogden and Krissi Fitzpatrick are leading Baylor on the back row with 82 and 65 digs respectively. Matches are decided in a best-of-three sets format in the offseason rather than the normal five sets during the traditional season in the fall.
Barnes said that 1,500 athletes were tested by the AVCA's Volleyball Performance Index and that returning sophomore Tola Itiola was the team's leader in a system that combined standing vertical, attack height, arm swing velocity, agility testing and acceleration.
The Bears take this weekend off before returning to competition in Dallas April 19, and BU will close the non-traditional season April 26 at SMU.