April 30, 2014
WACO, Texas - The Baylor volleyball team enjoyed a successful non-traditional spring season in April by going 8-2 in 10 matches with BU's 3-1 win over SMU in Dallas closing out the offseason.
Saturday, Baylor hit .219 as a team and Laura Jones led the Bears with 12 kills in the win over the Ponies. Jones was just a part of the balanced offensive attack that saw five other players record at least five kills. Tori Cox had nine, Tola Itiola had eight on a .438 hitting percentage, Nicole Bardaji had seven, Adrien Richburg had five without an attacking error and Sam Hill added five as well.
Defensively, Hope Ogden led with 18 digs while setter Morgan Reed had nine along with Jones' nine. Reed split setting duties with Amy Rosenbaum and the pair combined for 36 assists. On the block, Baylor was dominating with 15 led by Hill's six while Jones and Cox contributed five apiece.
"It was a great way to wrap the spring, and I really felt like the entire offseason has set us up for a big 2014 season," said Baylor head coach Jim Barnes. "We played dominate in scrimmages and each position became stronger. We are close to getting everyone healthy and Andie Malloy will be eligible to play in the fall. We will be the most physical Baylor volleyball team to step on the floor come fall."
Barnes and the team played the offseason without key 2013 contributor Thea Munch-Soegaard along with Katie Staiger (two games in 2014). In addition, Malloy, an Iowa State transfer had to sit out not only the 2013 fall season, but the offseason as well before she finishes her two years of college eligibility with BU beginning in the fall of 2014. Kristina Fitzpatrick suffered a knee injury in the offseason that will likely keep her on the sideline for the fall of 2014.
Barnes said he was also impressed with the team's work in the weight room in the offseason with athletic performance coach Keith Caton.
"The majority of our players set personal records in lifts and vertical," he said. "Tola [Itiola] and Nicole Bardaji continue to show off their athleticism, but as a whole I know the work they put in will make us a better team."
Baylor will open the 2014 season with a home tournament in the last weekend in August.