No. 9 Baylor Volleyball beats San Diego State, 3-1

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MALIBU, Calif. – The No. 9-ranked Baylor volleyball team showed off their prowess Friday night in a 3-1 win over San Diego State at Pepperdine’s Firestone Fieldhouse as part of the Asics Classic.

The Bears (2-2) defeated the Aztecs (2-2) in four sets, 25-18, 25-17, 27-29, 25-14.

BU were led by redshirt rookie Riley Simpson with 14 kills, rookie Averi Carlson with 42 assists and senior Kara McGhee with 11 blocks.

It was the first time a Baylor team had 20 total blocks in a game since 2007 against Colorado, when the Bears had 23 total blocks in five sets.


HOW DID IT HAPPEN

Set a

The Bears came out hot with Elise McGhee wins sandwiched with a Mallory Talbert victory to go up 3-1 early. Lauren Harrison entered the action with a kill at 4-2, 5-3. Riley Simpson entered the party with a kill at 6-4, then a block with Kara McGhee before scoring again at 8-4. Kara McGhee had a kill at 9-5 before Simpson delivered an ace. Firing on all cylinders, Talbert and Harrison got a block to make it 12-7 after a Harrison kill. Harrison and Simpson went 15-10, then 16-11 with Talbert. Averi Carlson and Kara McGhee teamed up for a block against SDSU’s Mikela Labno, prompting the Aztecs to stop at 17-11. Errors came from both sides, but Kara McGhee again straightened the team at 20-14. Going into the home stretch, BU called a timeout at 20-17. Other than that, Harrison was killed and SDSU had an offensive error for San Diego State to call for another break. An attack error followed by a block from Harrison and Talbert put the set at 24-18, and a service error from SDSU’s Heipua Tautua’a ended the set at 25-18.

Set Two

After winning the first set, the Bears came out ready to wrap up the second. Simpson started the set with a kill, then Kara McGhee made it 2-1. Allie Sczech came in with a kill to put BU ahead 3-2, then made another kill at 8-9, 9-10. She and Talbert joined for a block to tie the set at 10-10, with Harrison leveling it at 11. Harrison and Talbert had back-to-back blocks together to regain the lead at 13-11, then 14-12 with a kill of Harrison. SDSU called time at 17-13 after Simpson and Kara McGhee each recorded a kill. Three consecutive offensive errors from the Aztecs, including a solo block from McGhee and a block assist from McGhee and Sczech again called SDSU with BU at 20-14. Baylor had already made their mark and there was no stopping them. BU only allowed San Diego State three more points before the set ended at 25-17. During this period, Simpson killed, and there were blocks of Harrison and McGhee, and then Sczech and McGhee.

Set three

Primed for a third set, the Bears instead started with a reverse call in favor of SDSU, then three consecutive offensive errors after the eliminations of Harrison and Talbert. At 7-4 in favor of the Aztecs, Simpson got his first kill of the set, followed by McGhee. Kara and Carlson took it one point closer to the tie at 6-7 with a block. After trading points, the Bears pulled away after an SDSU offensive error and a Carlson ace, prompting an Aztec timeout at 20-17. Blocks came from Sczech and McGhee, then McGhee and Simpson. SDSU returned two blocks before McGhee was killed and one block came from Harrison and Talbert to bring match point. He escaped with a Tautua’a kill and then two straight BU errors. Harrison made it 25-24 with a kill. On the verge of resuming the match, Madison Corf renewed it. A Talbert and Harrison block moved the needle in BU’s direction, but Corf again thwarted their plans. Simpson got a kill, then Labno tied it once more, followed by another SDSU kill to make it 28-27 in their favor. Baylor called timeout, but a San Diego State ace ended the set, 29-27.

Set Four

The Bears reset and got back to work, with the first game of the fourth set being one block behind Kara McGhee and Simpson. It was followed by two straight SDSU errors to complete a 3-0 run for Baylor. A block from Sczech and Talbert and another SDSU offensive error saw the Aztecs stopped at 7-3. Talbert went 9-4, then San Diego State tried to push. Not having it, Simpson made the kill at 11-7 followed by a block with McGhee. A kill from McGhee, then three consecutive offensive errors from SDSU and an ace from Talbert made another Bear run, ending at 17-7. Baylor started to run away with him at 20-9 with Simpson recording a kill. Substitutes were called up, bringing Alicia Andrew onto the pitch. She recorded a kill at 23-11 after Harrison got one the previous game. The Aztecs scored three in a row, but an SDSU service error and then an attacking error ended the set and the match, 25-14.


NOTABLE

  • Redshirt freshman Riley Simpson led the team with 14 eliminations for the second game in a row.
  • Averi Carlson had his second straight game with 40 or more assists.
  • Four different bears registered an ace (Carlson, McGhee, Simpson, Talbert).
  • BU had 20 blocks for the first time since 2007 against Colorado when they had 23.
  • Kara McGhee recorded 11 blocks, her best of the season and just one shy of her career best. She was also one kill away from a double-double.
  • Baylor had over .400% offense in sets one and four, with a .438 in set four.
  • The Bears never trailed in sets one and four.
  • Redshirt freshman Alicia Andrew recorded her first career kill.

CITABLE

Head Coach Ryan McGuyre

“Glad to see our blocking come to life. I thought it was going to make the difference in the game. Lots of healthy good arms for San Diego State, so it was important that we slow them down at the net. We are still young, we still have things to work on. We start to find things that are integral to our game that we can build on, and things that we know we won’t have worked on when we get back to the gym. Good to see Riley (Simpson) hitting such a high clip, .407. Again, proud overall blocking. In four sets, we only gave up one ace, so our setters are doing much better.

Redshirt Freshman Riley Simpson

“It was really great [to be the leading scorer again tonight], I don’t think I could have done it without my teammates, honestly. It was really fun; the energy was good and it was good to come back with a win after last night. I really think the difference was blocking. Last night our lockout wasn’t quite activated, but I felt like we made a great adjustment tonight. I think we did a better job of making adjustments overall tonight. There were a lot of things that we learned collectively as a team, including that we play very well when our team has energy and when we all encourage each other. It’s more fun of a game when we’re more energetic.


NEXT

The Bears take on UC Santa Barbara on Saturday afternoon at Firestone Fieldhouse at 12 p.m. CT. The Gauchos faced Pepperdine on Friday night after the SDSU-BU game. UCSB fell, 3-1, to the Waves in the game.

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