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Volleyball Looks To Rebound At Oklahoma

Freshman outside hitter Stevie Nicholas tallied 17 kills and hit .400 against Oklahoma in a three-game victory earlier this season in Waco.

Freshman outside hitter Stevie Nicholas tallied 17 kills and hit .400 against Oklahoma in a three-game victory earlier this season in Waco.

Nov. 7, 2000

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Bears look to rebound at Oklahoma: Baylor will return to action Wednesday at 7 p.m., taking on Oklahoma in Norman, Okla. The Bears enter the match with a 13-11 overall record and a 6-9 Big 12 Conference mark after dropping three straigh matches. The Sooners carry a 7-15 record and are 2-12 in conference action. The match will be webcast at www.GoBaylorBears.com, the official website of Baylor Athletics and a member of the FANSOnly Network.

Scouting the Sooners: Oklahoma won its first five matches of the season, and it has pretty much been all downhill from there. Since then, the Sooners are 2-15 with the lone victories coming against Iowa State -- a five-game decision Sept. 27 in Norman and a three-game sweep Saturday in Ames. Cathy Cook leads the Sooners with 4.49 kills per game and a .337 attacking percentage, ranking fifth and 11th in the conference, respectively. Cook is also second on the OU roster with 0.80 blocks per game and leads the Scarlet and Cream with 12 solo blocks. Unfortunately, though, she is the only Sooner hitting better than .270. Holly McMillan is putting down 2.35 kills per game with a .262 attacking percentage. Maria Holmgren is second on the team with 2.95 kills per game, but she is hitting just .163. As a team, OU is hitting .198 with 14.44 kills per game.

Last time against Oklahoma: Stevie Nicholas had 17 kills and hit .350 as the Bears swept the Sooners 15-6, 16-14, 15-9. Dana Chuha also had three errorless kills to go along with 45 assists and a match-high 11 digs. Tisha Schwartz put down six kills without an error in 13 attempts and had three blocks. Baylor held OU to a .195 team attacking percentage and collected 10 more kills on the match than did the Sooners.

The Series vs. Oklahoma: This will be the 22nd meeting between the two schools with Oklahoma holding a 15-6 advantage in the all-time series. The Sooners lead the series 5-4 since the beginning of Big 12 play in 1996. The teams first met in 1979, Baylor's second season of volleyball, in Tulsa, Okla., at the Oral Roberts Invitational. Oklahoma won that match 15-8, 13-15, 15-9 and went on to win the first eight matches in the series before a 1992 Baylor victory in Haltom City, Texas. The Sooners are 5-4 all-time in Waco, but have not won on the Brazos since 1997. Baylor swept the season series last year, winning in five games in Norman and in three games in Waco. The Bears also blanked the Sooners in their 1998 meeting at the Ferrell Center.

Last time out: Stevie Nicholas posted her 14th double-double of the season, but it was not enough as Baylor fell to Kansas 16-14, 15-6, 15-12 in Lawrence. The Bears have now lost nine consecutive games, dropping three straight three-game matches. That marks the longest game-losing streak for Baylor since losing three consecutive three-gamers near the end of the 1998 season. The three-match losing streak matches the longest of the season for BU. Nicholas led the Bears with 16 kills and tied Kimmy Scott for the team lead with 11 digs. However, the freshman from Fullerton, Calif., hit just .242 and had three of Baylor's 10 reception errors. Kirsten Berg, who came off the bench for eight kills, was the culprit of four reception errors. Sunny Nicholas had 10 kills and tied Dana Chuha for a Bear-high two blocks. Tisha Schwartz was again strong on the offense, hitting .667 with nine kills and only one error in 12 attempts, but she failed to register a block. The Bears were never able to find an answer for Jayhawk outside hitter Nancy Bell, who put down a match-high 17 kills and hit .457 on the day. She also collected a match-high 16 digs, nine of which came in the first game. Danielle Geronymo tallied 13 kills with only two errors, hitting .500, and had 11 digs. As a team, Kansas hit .313 with only 14 errors on the day. Baylor, meanwhile, hit just .227 and pulled above the .200 mark with a .314 percentage in the third game. The Bears hit .061 in the second game with eight errors against 10 kills in 33 attempts.

Road continues to puzzle Bears: While Baylor is 20-4 over the past two seasons in the friendly confines of the Ferrell Center, the Bears have had their struggles on the road. BU enters the Oklahoma match with a 2-7 record this season on opponents' home courts and 6-8 away from Waco. The Bears have lost four and eight of their last ten road matches. In those eight losses, Baylor has been able to capture just four games -- two at Missouri and two at Texas Tech. Last season, the Bears were 7-8 on opponents' home courts and 6-0 at neutral sites.

Nicholas on pace for kills mark: Freshman Stevie Nicholas has her sights set on another school record in her first season of collegiate volleyball. Currently, she ranks fifth all-time at Baylor with 488 kills on the season, fourth-place Kia Young (1999) is next on the list at 589. Already the owner or co-owner of four school records and eight school freshman records, Nicholas is on pace to get 631 kills on the season, which would break Elisha Polk's school mark from 1998 by 11 kills.

The other freshman: With all the attention on National Freshman of the Year candidate Stevie Nicholas, fellow freshman Tisha Schwartz is going almost un-noticed. The Amarillo, Texas, native is having a solid first campaign, though, leading the team in attacking (.323) and blocks per game (1.06). As a matter of fact, she ranks tied for 14th in the Big 12 in attacking percentage and 12th in blocks per game. Over the last four matches, Schwartz is hitting .380 with 2.57 kills and 1.00 blocks per game.

Chuha on pace for assists record: Junior setter Dana Chuha will likely break the school record for assists sometime this week. With 1,304 on the season entering the Oklahoma match, the Yorba Linda, Calif., native is just 66 assists shy of Sharon Pratt's 1996 school mark of 1,370. Right now, Chuha is fourth on the school list, but should move past herself (1,308 in 1999) and Cory Sivertson (1,334 in 1991) in the OU match. Last season, Chuha established a school record with 14.70 assists per game, an average that led the nation and ranked ninth in NCAA history. This season, she is again leading the nation in assists per game with 15.34. That would rank fourth in NCAA history. Disney Bronnenberg of Kansas State established the NCAA and Big 12 marks with 15.54 per game in 1998.

Blocks tell a lot for the Bears: Baylor has recorded more blocks than its opponent nine times this season. The Bears are 9-0 in such matches, while posting a 4-11 mark in the other 15 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 19-17 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.

Slow starts killing the Bears: Want to know if Baylor is going to win the match? Stick around for the end of the first game. At least, that's the trend the Bears have been following this season. BU is 11-1 this season when winning the first game, the lone loss was at home against Texas. On the flip side, the Bears are just 2-10 when losing the first game, overcoming first-game losses at home against Texas Tech and at home against Kansas State. But if you want to be absolutely sure, stick around for the end of the second game. This season, Baylor is 10-1 when leading two games to none (lost at home to Texas) and 0-8 when trailing two games to none. In matches where the Bears have split the first two games, they are 3-2.

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.

Stevie Nicholas posts more records: With 20 kills Oct. 27 at Texas, freshman Stevie Nicholas established two more school freshman records and tied an overall school mark. Nicholas now has 453 kills on the season, surpassing Elisha Polk's 1996 freshman record for kills as a freshman (439). She also moved into seventh place overall at Baylor for kills in a season. The Texas match also marked the 12th time this season Nicholas has reached the 20-kill plateau, tying Polk's school record established in 1998 and in 1999. Nicholas will have at least nine more chances to break the tie with Polk.

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 90-73 overall record and a 38-57 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 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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