By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Insider
Playing at home for just the third time this season, the ninth-ranked Baylor volleyball team cruised through the first two sets and was three points away from their sixth-straight sweep when the Bears “took the foot off the pedal.”
Capitalizing on Baylor’s 14 service errors, including four in the final set, Texas Tech (11-5, 1-2) pulled out a surprising 3-2 win Friday night at the Ferrell Center and closed it out by taking the fifth set, 18-16.
“I think we just took the foot off the pedal at one point, and they took advantage of it and we struggled to get back into the way we play,” said Avery Skinner, who had a career-high 27 kills to go with 12 digs and three blocks.
“Moving forward, we can’t allow ourselves to get relaxed at any point. We have to take care of every single point. It doesn’t matter what’s happening on their side, we need to control our side way better than we did.”
Until Tech took the third set, 25-22, the Bears (7-4, 2-1) had won 19-straight sets and held their opponents below 20 points in 15 of those sets. But, they were off just enough for the Red Raiders to beat Baylor for just the fourth time in the last 17 years.
“Hats off to Texas Tech,” said Baylor coach Ryan McGuyre. “Down 2-0, credit them to keep battling and fighting. Every set went back and forth, we just made it hard for us to win and get runs with our serves tonight. I’m probably most disappointed in how we served. When we’re serving better, it gives our defense chances to block more balls, dig more balls in transition. Take away those free points, and maybe we’re in a different situation.”
Even after dropping the third and fourth sets by identical 25-22 scores, Baylor had a chance to take it in five, leading 12-10 and 15-14. But, service errors by Hannah Sedwick and Skinner gave the Red Raiders two of their last four points and Kenna Sauer finished it with her team-high 19th kill of the night.
“(Sauer) moved the ball around and was pretty deceptive with her off-speed stuff. That got us out of position a little bit early on,” McGuyre said. “Good things happen when you hit hard, and they took some big swings at the end that got through. Tech did a really good job overall really fighting.”
All-American outside hitter Yossiana Pressley had 16 kills, eight digs and five blocks, but also had 13 of the Bears’ 27 attack errors and hit just .064 for the night.
“She plays at a high level very consistently. That’s something we expect from her all the time,” McGuyre said of Pressley. “Definitely not her best night, but I expect her to be back tomorrow, for sure.”
Baylor had a better hitting percentage (.247 to .206), out-blocked Tech, 14.5-5.0, and finished with a 77-66 edge in digs. But, it was the service errors and free points that proved too much to overcome.
A grad transfer who was an All-American for last year’s Kentucky national championship squad, Skinner set career highs for kills (27) and attempts (65), along with 59 service receives and 12 digs.
“You want to set the hot hitter, and I felt like I was confident,” Skinner said. “So, it was just (Sedwick) recognizing that, and me feeling confident. They hadn’t stopped me. That was something that we needed in the moment, and it was working.”
McGuyre said Tech served at Skinner in the back row all night, “and she was passing nails and really doing a good job of keeping us in system.”
The Bears will get a chance to bounce back when they play Tech at 6 p.m. Saturday to wrap up the weekend series.
“We’ve got to do our homework and get after it tomorrow,” McGuyre said. “We always say the better team wins the second night. Avery is spot on – definitely, us at 100%, we like what we’re doing. But, we let off a little bit and gave points here and there. The margins were so thin. We’ll watch film tonight and have a good game plan tomorrow.”
WACO, Texas – No. 9 Baylor volleyball fell to Texas Tech after five sets on Friday night in the Ferrell Center, 3-2.
The Bears (7-4, 2-1) were dominant in almost every category over the Red Raiders (11-5), falling short only in serving. The Bears took set one and two at 25-23 and 25-19, but fell in the third, fourth and fifth at 25-22, 25-22, and 18-16.
Baylor finished the night with 71 kills and 178 attacks; the most they’ve had in a single match this season. Hannah Sedwick had 59 assists, also the most she’s had in a match this season, while Avery Skinner recorded 59 receptions without an error and had 27 kills on 65 attacks, both career highs. She had a double-double with her 12 digs, her fifth in her career. Shanel Bramschreiber had a career-high 24 digs as well. Yossiana Pressley’s 16 kills meant she had recorded double-digit kills in every match this season and had done it 110 times in her career.
The match felt like it belonged to the Green and Gold all the while, with an electric crowd including an energetic student section. Baylor was dominant through the first two sets, and then Texas Tech started ramping up their game. The Bears fought and battled, but the Red Raiders clawed their way back.
- The Bears had their highest number of kills (71) and attempts (178) in a single match this season against TTU.
- Avery Skinner had 27 kills on 65 attempts, both career highs, along with 59 receptions and 12 digs.
- Baylor is 68-31 in Big 12 matches under Ryan McGuyre, and BU has a record of 194-269 since entering the conference at its inception.
- The matchup with Texas Tech is the second-most played for the Bears at 87 matches, trailing only Texas (91 total matchups).
- Baylor has defeated the Red Raiders in 29 of the last 33 matchups.
QUOTABLE – Head coach Ryan McGuyre
“Hats off to Tech. Credit to them to keep battling and fighting. I thought every set went back and forth. We just made it hard for us to win and get runs with our serves tonight. I was probably most disappointed in how we served. When we’re serving better, it gives our defense a chance to block more balls, dig more balls and transition. Take away some of those free points and maybe we’re in a different situation, but that’s part of the game. We have to do the whole thing. I thought Avery (Skinner) was really coming on strong to finish the match. They served her the whole night and she was passing nails. Really doing a good job keeping us in the system there. We have to do our homework tonight and get back after it tomorrow.”
Former Baylor volleyball standout Katie Smith will be part of the broadcast team along with Derek Smith on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
To stay up to date throughout the season on all things Baylor volleyball, follow the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @BaylorVball.
The Bears hit the road again, but this time within the state lines, facing North Texas on Wednesday, October 6 in Denton where start time is set for 6 p.m.