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Volleyball Faces Quick Turnaround Against Longhorns

Junior middle blocker Kirsten Berg had a career-high 21 kills in last month's match against Texas.

Junior middle blocker Kirsten Berg had a career-high 21 kills in last month's match against Texas.

Oct. 26, 2000

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Bears face quick turnaround against Longhorns: Baylor will return to action Friday with a 7 p.m. match at Texas. The Bears enter with a 13-8 overall record and a 6-6 mark in Big 12 Conference play. The Longhorns carry a 6-13 record with a 5-7 mark in the conference. The match will be webcast at www.GoBaylorBears.com, the official website of Baylor Athletics.

Scouting the Longhorns: Despite suffering through the worst season in school history, Texas still poses quite a threat to the Bears. Six of the Longhorns' 13 losses have been to Top 25 opponents, including a pair of defeats at the hands of No. 1 Nebraska and early season losses to then-No. 7 Southern California and then-No. 2 Penn State. Texas is coming off a 15-12, 15-6, 15-2 triumph Wednesday night against Iowa State in Ames. In that match Kathy Hahn had 16 kills and four blocks while hitting at a .452 clip (only two errors in 31 attempts). Gipy Duarte, who was injured when the Longhorns played in Waco last month, added 12 kills and 12 digs. Although UT is having a subpar year, a win against Baylor would vault the Horns into the upper division of the Big 12 Conference standings. On the season, Texas is hitting just .196 as a team with 15.66 kills per game. Meanwhile, opponents are hitting .233 against the Burnt Orange and White, putting down 17.06 kills per game. Duarte is averaging 3.00 kills, 2.74 digs and 0.74 blocks per game since returning to the court Oct. 7.

Last time against Texas: In one of the most heartbreaking losses in school history, Baylor dropped a 15-10, 15-8, 6-15, 12-15, 14-16 decision to Texas in Waco. The victory moved UT's all-time record in Waco to 20-1 and put an end to the Bears' hopes of a program-first winning streak against the Longhorns. In the match, Stevie Nicholas posted the first 20-kill, 20-dig performance of the season for Baylor with 24 and 20, respectively. Kirsten Berg also went for a season-high 21 kills and Dana Atkinson collected a match-high 24 digs.

The Series vs. Texas: This will be the 46th meeting between the two schools with the series dominated by the Longhorns, 44-1. In fact, Baylor has won just 13 of 143 games against Texas. The teams first met Sept. 14, 1978 in the Bears' first match as competing varsity member of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. Baylor is 0-20 all-time in Austin, winning just two games in that time.

Last time out: Thanks to 12 errorless kills in game five, Baylor's women's volleyball team rallied from a 2-1 deficit to defeat Kansas State 12-15, 15-9, 14-16, 15-12, 15-10 at home Wednesday night in Big 12 Conference action. The fifth game marked the first errorless game of the season for Baylor, which hit .632 in the deciding game. In the game, Stevie Nicholas had four kills in six swings, Dana Atkinson had three kills in four attempts and Tatiana Kenon was a perfect 3-for-3. Meanwhile, the Wildcats hit just .222 in game five with seven kills against three errors, hitting into the Baylor block three times. "I was impressed with everyone's play tonight," Baylor head coach Brian Hosfeld said. "It was good to see a lot of players make adjustments throughout the match. We had some ups and downs, but we were able to pull through." The match had several undertones, the biggest was the way in which game three ended. With Baylor leading 14-7 and having already missed out on two game points, Kansas State's Liz Wegner toed the service line. What resulted was nine consecutive Wildcat points, tying the Big 12 record and tying for the ninth in NCAA history. However, the Bears bounced back well in game four, quickly jumping out to a 4-1 lead. Atkinson aided Stevie Nicholas, who hit .458 in the fourth game, with four errorless kills in nine attempts and eight digs. As a team, the Bears hit .377 in game four and held Kansas State to .250 en route to the 15-12 victory. "We didn't give up," Atkinson said. "We're not going to give up. This team is committed to doing what we have to do to make a push for postseason."

Stevie Nicholas torches K-State: Stevie Nicholas broke her own Baylor freshman record with 35 kills against Kansas State, topping her previous mark of 34 set Sept. 23 at Missouri. Her 35 kills was also just one shy of Elisha Polk's overall school record established last season against Texas. The only Baylor freshman to ever eclipse the 30-kill plateau, Nicholas has now done it three times. The Fullerton, Calif., native also hit .400 against the Wildcats with only nine errors in 65 swings. Game two saw Nicholas put down 10 errorless kills in 11 attempts. In game four, she posted a team single-game season-high 14 kills. In the fifth game, she had four errorless kills in six attempts. In two matches this season against Kansas State, Nicholas totaled 57 kills and 27 digs, averaging 7.125 kills and 3.38 digs per game. She also hit at a .389 clip in the two matches.

Blocks theory holds true against KSU: It should have come as no surprise that the Bears defeated Kansas State, given that the Green and Gold out-blocked the Wildcats 18-10. Baylor has recorded more blocks than its opponent nine times this season. The Bears are 9-0 in such matches, while posting a 4-8 mark in the other 12 matches. Since the beginning of the 1999 season, the Bears are 20-2 when out-blocking their opponent and have won 13 consecutive such matches. On the other hand, Baylor has an 19-14 record during that time when its opponent has more blocks. The Bears are 0-1 over the past two seasons when they have the same number of blocks as their opponent.

If it goes five, flip a coin: Baylor is 13-12 in five-game matches under fifth-year head coach Brian Hosfeld after rallying to defeat Kansas State. Prior to that, the Bears had dropped five of their last six five-gamers, dating back to last season. Two of those three contests saw Baylor build a 2-0 lead before dropping three straight games. Baylor was 4-4 in five-game matches during the 1999 season with wins over Texas, Texas A&M, Colorado and Oklahoma. This year, the Bears are 2-3 in such contests.

Sunny Nicholas on fire: Don't look now, but junior middle blocker Sunny Nicholas is starting to heat up. Over the last four matches, she leads the team with a .362 attacking percentage, putting down 53 kills against 11 errors in 116 attempts. Also during that time, she has 37 digs (2.18 per game) and 17 blocks (1.00 per game). Oct. 21 at Texas Tech, Nicholas posted a career high with 25 kills. She committed only three errors against the Red Raiders and hit .449 on the match.

Bears post big numbers against Raiders: Senior outside hitter Dana Atkinson tallied a career-high 36 digs against Texas Tech, the second-highest match total in school history. Only Elisha Polk's Big 12 Conference record of 39 last season against Texas was better. Atkinson also had 11 kills on the night for her second double-double of the season, the other was with 14 kills and 20 digs against Texas Tech earlier in the season. Freshman outside hitter Stevie Nicholas, meanwhile, turned in another night of impressive numbers. Her 30 kills against the Raiders tied for ninth all-time at Baylor, making her the first freshman in school history with two 30-kill matches (34 at Missouri, Sept. 23). Nicholas also posted a career-high 29 digs against Tech, coming one dig shy of posting the first 30-kill, 30-dig match in school history. Junior setter Dana Chuha totaled 88 assists on the night, the third-highest match total in school history and the best of the year for the nation's leader in assists.

Atkinson moves into third on digs chart: Senior outside hitter Dana Atkinson moved into third place all-time at Baylor in career digs during the Texas Christian match. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native jumped ahead of Jenny DeLue (1990-1993), who had 1,344 career digs. Next on the list is Elisha Polk (1996-1999), who ended her career with 1,507. Through the first 19 matches of the season, Atkinson is averaging 12.67 digs per match. If she continues at that pace, she would end the regular season with 1,540 career digs. Cory Sivertson (1991-1994) holds the BU mark at 1,575.

Huskers snap Stevie's streaks: Freshman outside hitter Stevie Nicholas got a wakeup call Wednesday against No. 1 Nebraska. The Fullerton, Calif., native was held to just five kills in the three-game match, marking the first time in her collegiate career that she did not reach double figures in kills. Therefore, her school-record streak of such matches to begin a career ended at 16 matches, some five matches better than the previous school mark set by Elisha Polk in 1996. Stevie also gave way on another streak, her sister, Sunny Nicholas, led the Bears in kills against the Huskers with 11, marking the first time this season that Stevie had not at least tied for the team-high in kills. In the first 16 matches, Stevie led Baylor solely 15 times. Amy Wallace matched her with 17 kills against Oklahoma.

Chuha takes over second: Junior setter Dana Chuha moved into second place in career assists at Baylor with her 56-assist performance against Texas A&M. The Yorba Linda, Calif. native now has 2,750 on her three-year career. However, overtaking first-place Cory Sivertson will probably take some time. Sivertson tallied 4,846 assists during her 1991 to 1994 stay at Baylor. Chuha owns the top three and eight of the top 10 single-match assist totals in school history. Her 101 assists last season against Texas is a school and Big 12 record and ranks seventh all-time in the NCAA. Chuha also set an NCAA Tournament record for assists in a four-game match with 94 against Temple in last season's first round.

Baylor attendance figures: Baylor's first home match of the 2000 season drew a crowd of 726 fans. That is the second-largest, home-opener crowd in school history behind only the Sept. 12, 1997 match against UCLA that drew a crowd of 1,163. Eight of the 10 largest crowds in school history have come during head coach Brian Hosfeld's tenure, and three of those have come during the 2000 season.

Two and out: Dropping a match after winning the first two games is nothing new for the Bears. Last season, both Texas A&M and Colorado reversed the tide against BU and overcame two-game deficits. There have been eight occasions in the history of Baylor volleyball in which the Bears jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but could not close out the match.

Stevie Nicholas named Athlete of the Week: For the first time in the history of Baylor's volleyball team, a freshman was honored with conference player of the week honors Monday when Stevie Nicholas was so honored by the Big 12. A native of Fullerton, Calif., Nicholas averaged 6.71 kills per game last week with 47 in two matches. She had a career-high 25 in the Bears' four-game win over Texas Tech last Wednesday and followed that with a 22-kill performance Saturday at Kansas State. Nicholas also collected a career-high 19 digs against the Red Raiders and hit .367 on the week.

Stevie Nicholas gets more hardwood: Freshman outside hitter Stevie Nicholas averaged 5.89 kills, 3.33 digs and 1.00 blocks per game en route to earning all-tournament honors at the Starwoods Plaza Wildcat Classic. She tallied a career-high 20 kills twice on the weekend, first against Santa Clara and then against New Mexico State. Nicholas also earned all-tournament honors at the Rice Tournament.

Baylor cruises past field at Rice: Baylor said good morning, good afternoon and good night to four consecutive opponents en route to its seventh regular-season tournament title during head coach Brian Hosfeld's tenure last weekend at the Rice University Tournament in Houston. The Bears defeated North Texas, Louisiana Tech, Texas-Pan American and host Rice, each by the score of 3-0. In the 18 years of Baylor volleyball prior to naming Hosfeld as head coach in 1996, the Bears captured just six regular season tournament titles and five of those came in the 1990s.

Nicholas dominates Rice Tournament: Freshman sensation Stevie Nicholas made her presence felt in her first weekend of collegiate action. The Fullerton, Calif., native tallied 69 kills and 12 blocks, averaged 5.75 kills per game and attacked at a .379 percentage at the Rice Tournament. That performance earned her tournament most valuable player honors, becoming the first-ever Baylor freshman to be named MVP of a tournament. Prior to this Elisha Polk had come the closest, garnering offensive MVP honors of the 1996 Dr Pepper/American Airlines Invitational hosted by Baylor.

Kenon sets record, named all-tournament: Junior rightside hitter Tatiana Kenon joined Stevie Nicholas on the all-tournament team last weekend. She averaged 3.55 kills and 0.73 blocks per game while hitting at a .365 clip. Her most impressive outing of the weekend came Saturday against Texas-Pan American. Kenon put down 17 kills in 22 attempts without committing an error. In doing so, the San Antonio, Texas, native broke the school record for kills in a game without an error. The mark was previously held by Cory Sivertson, who tallied 15 kills in 16 errorless attempts Oct. 7, 1992 against Rice. This was also the first time in Kenon's career to earn all-tournament honors. However, she has received hardwood before, last season Kenon was named player of the week by both the Big 12 Conference and the AVCA during the first week of November after posting a triple-double (19 kills, 10 digs, 10 blocks) against Colorado.

Head coach Brian Hosfeld: Baylor is in its fifth season under the direction of Brian Hosfeld. During his tenure, the Bears have compiled a 88-69 overall record and a 37-53 mark in the rugged Big 12 Conference. Last season, Hosfeld led the Bears to the greatest season in the program's 22-year history. Baylor posted a 26-9 record and finished fifth in the conference at 13-7. The 1999 Bears matched the school record for wins in a season and shattered the standard for conference wins. The season culminated with the Green and Gold making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament. There, Baylor knocked off Temple in the first round before falling to eventual national champion Penn State. Hosfeld holds the highest winning percentage in school history. He stands third all-time at Baylor in total wins and has amassed the most conference wins of any coach in school history.

Gray, Lee complete coaching staff: Baylor will sport two new assistant coaches this season in Frank Gray and Jaimie Lee. Gray comes to Waco from Regis University in Colorado, where he worked with Division II coaching legend Frank Lavrisha. He is a 1994 graduate of the University of Colorado. Lee, who was a three-time Big East Conference Player of the Year honoree at Notre Dame, joins the staff after spending one year with the United States Professional Volleyball league touring team under the direction of world-renowned coach Arie Selinger. Lee is a 1998 Cum Laude graduate of Notre Dame.

Baylor on the web: Baylor volleyball information can be accessed 24 hours a day at the school's new athletic website http://www.GoBaylorBears.com. Fans and media alike can find the latest news and notes on the site along with match recaps, box scores, player features, player and coach bios and various other informational resources. Baylor volleyball matches are also webcast live on the website, a link to the webcast will be on the front page at least 30 minutes prior to match time.

 

 

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