Baylor volleyball (21-11, 9-7 Big 12) stormed back from a 2-0 deficit to force a deciding set, but ultimately came up short against fourth-ranked Kansas, 25-20, 25-15, 16-25, 22-25, 15-9 Saturday afternoon at the Ferrell Center.
The loss concludes a remarkable regular season, giving the Bears its best Big 12 finish since the 2009 season (.563).
Redshirt junior Katie Staiger led all players with 22 kills and added 14 digs for her 18th double-double of the season. On Senior Day, senior Morgan Reed notched her 10th career double-double, with 47 assists and 15 digs.
Defensively, BU outblocked the Jayhawks (26-2, 15-1 Big 12) by an 11.5-11.0 margin for the team’s 20th match where the Bears outblocked their opponents.
The Bears started out slow to fall behind 15-12 at the first media timeout and could never recover hitting .000 in the opening frame, falling 25-20.
Baylor continued to struggle offensively in the second frame, forcing two early timeouts after a 17-12 Kansas lead. BU hit -.049 to drop the set, 25-15, and entered set three with a 2-0 deficit.
In the third, BU was led by Staiger and Philo, who combined for nine kills to take a 21-16 lead before a Kansas timeout. The Bears used a 6-0 run to win the third set, 25-16.
Baylor kept the momentum in the fourth frame and used back-to-back blocks to tie up the match at 21-21. A Staiger kill sent the match to a fifth set as BU won set four, 25-22.
The Bears got out to a 3-1 lead early, but a .476 Kansas attack made the difference as Baylor dropped the final set, 15-9.
• Katie Staiger finished with 22 kills and 14 digs, ending the regular season with 18 double-double matches.
• Prior to the match, Baylor honored seniors Morgan Reed and Alex Banister as a part of Senior Day.
• Baylor finishes the regular season with a 21-11 season record, the best performance since the 2009 squad (22-9).
• The Bears finished the 2016 Big 12 double round-robin schedule with a 9-7 record (.563), the first time a Baylor team finished with a .500 or better conference performance since 2009 (.550), and just the third time in program history.
• Morgan Reed finished with 47 assists and 15 digs for her 9th season double-double on Senior Day.
• Baylor took Kansas to a fifth set for the first time since Oct. 6, 2012. BU lost 15-11 in the fifth set in Lawrence, Kan.
STAT OF THE DAY
.563 – the Big 12 win percentage by the 2016 squad, notching the best conference performance since the 2009 season.
TOP QUOTE #1
“Morgan Reed did a great job of getting us back into a rhythm offensively. As we got better on offense, we started slowing them down. Katie Staiger’s really improved and is playing much more intelligent. Big wall or not, she moved the shots around.” –head coach Ryan McGuyre
TOP QUOTE #2
“I’m just thankful for all the challenges and heartaches and disappointments in life. I’m thankful to be a Baylor Bear and to be a coach to these ladies. They’re always going to inspire and encourage me. I’ve seen miracles happen, but it’s fun when you get to live and be a part of what’s unique and special. To lose all these starters and be in this position – if this would have happened to us last year, then we would have been devastated, we probably would not have won a match at all. That shows the character and resiliency of these ladies, and it makes the foundation for Baylor volleyball. When these things happen, then we can get better from it.” –McGuyre on wrapping up two regular seasons at Baylor
Saturday’s match closes out the 2016 regular season. Baylor looks for its first postseason berth since 2011 as the 2016 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Selection Show starts Sunday, Nov. 27 at 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU.