Nov. 10, 2000
Bears, Buffs to battle for middle ground: Baylor will return to action Saturday with a 5 p.m. match at home against Colorado. The Bears enter the match one-and-a-half games behind the Buffaloes in seventh place in the Big 12. BU is 14-11 on the season and 7-9 in conference action, while CU is 12-10 and 8-7 in the Big 12. The match will be webcast at www.GoBaylorBears.com, the official website of Baylor Athletics and a member of the FANSOnly Network.
Scouting the Buffaloes: Colorado enters the match having won four of its last five matches. The only blemish on the Buffs slate during that time is a three-game loss at No. 1 Nebraska last Saturday. Prior to that, CU had won four straight matches, each in three games, the Buffaloes have not played since. As a team, Colorado is hitting .207 with 17.63 kills per game. CU is also averaging 17.00 digs and 3.03 blocks per game. Sonja Nielsen leads the Buffaloes with 3.59 digs and 3.94 kills per game, but she is hitting just .165. While no Colorado player is averaging more than four kills per game, six different Buffaloes are averaging at least 2.49 per game. Monique Gerlach, who weighs in with 2.98 kills per game, is tops on the squad with a .313 attacking percentage. Meghan Barkman (1.61) and Gerlach (1.00) lead Colorado in blocks per game.
Last time against Colorado: Baylor enjoyed one of its best attacking nights of the season (.303) and posted its first-ever win in Boulder, downing the Buffaloes 15-11, 17-15, 15-7. Stevie Nicholas pounded Colorado for 22 kills against only four errors for a .400 attacking percentage. Dana Atkinson had a match-high 11 digs, and Tisha Schwartz collected a match-high five blocks. Baylor out-blocked Colorado 11 to 4 with seven players contributing.
The Series vs. Colorado: This will be the 11th meeting between the two schools. Colorado leads the series 8-2, however, the Bears have won the last two meetings, a 15-8, 9-15, 15-8, 15-5 decision Oct. 27, 1999 in Waco and a three-game victory earlier this season in Boulder. The two schools first met in 1991 at the University of Portland Tournament. CU took that match in three games. Prior to last season's 3-2 loss in Boulder, the Bears had never won a game at Colorado, falling 3-0 in Boulder in 1996, 1997 and 1998. In fact, prior to last season, Colorado had won 24 of 26 all-time games against Baylor. In the last three meetings, though, the Bears have won nine of 13 games.
Bears solve road problem at OU: 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's victory at Oklahoma was just its third in 10 tries this season on opponents' home courts, Baylor is 7-8 away from Waco. The OU triumph snapped a four-match road losing streak for the Bears. In Baylor's eight losses away from home this season, the Bears have 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.
Chuha ties assist mark: With 66 assists against Oklahoma, senior setter Dana Chuha has tied the school record for assists in a season. She enters the Colorado match with 1,370 assists in 89 games, the same number amassed by Sharon Pratt in 117 games during the 1996 season. Last year, Chuha, who was injured the majority of the season, established a school record with 14.70 assists per game in 89 games of action. With the same number of games played this season, she is averaging 15.39 per game to lead the nation for a second consecutive year.
Stevie sets more records: Freshman outside hitter Stevie Nicholas set, tied or extended five school records during the Oklahoma match. With 32 kills, she established a Baylor freshman record for kills in a four-game match. That figure ties for the second-highest four-game match total in school history. Nicholas now has four 30-kill matches on the season, tying Elisha Polk's school record set during the 1998 season. The only Baylor freshman to ever reach 30 kills in a match, Nicholas is only two 30-kill matches shy of Polk's career record. By reaching 30 kills, Nicholas notched her school-record 13th 20-kill match of the year, Polk reached 12 such matches in 1998 and again in 1999.
Sunny moves into 10th: Junior middle blocker Sunny Nicholas moved into the Baylor top 10 for career kills during the Oklahoma match. She now has 783 during her time at BU, sliding past Dawn Martin, who totaled 775 from 1987 to 1990. Next on the list is Kathi Jones, she amassed 822 kills from 1988 to 1991.
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 520 kills on the season, fourth-place Kia Young (1999) is next on the list at 589. Already the owner or co-owner of five school records and 10 school freshman records, Nicholas is on pace to get 642 kills on the season, which would break Elisha Polk's school mark from 1998 by 22 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.
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 5-11 mark in the other 16 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 20-17 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 3-10 when losing the first game, overcoming first-game losses at home against Texas Tech, at home against Kansas State and at Oklahoma. 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 4-2.
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.
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 88-73 overall record and a 39-57 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.