NCAA volleyball: Texas rallies vs. Baylor, Mississippi State, Mizzou win

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Baylor’s Yossiana Pressley attacks against Texas/Baylor Twitter

AUSTIN, Texas — For more than two sets of a match that took nearly three hours, Texas had no answers for Baylor’s Yossiana Pressley.

And then the Longhorns grinded out a third-set victory, found new defensive life, and ultimately came away with a 23-25, 24-26, 25-23, 25-13, 15-9 victory that left Texas 11-0, all in the Big 12, as Baylor dropped to 11-2 as its 11-match winning streak came to an end.

”I told them after game two all we need is a little bit of life,” Texas coach Jerritt Elliott said. “Let’s win game three and we’ll roll this thing. Each player got a little better and our offense got more balanced.”

The top two teams playing in this truncated NCAA fall season go at it again Friday in the Frank Erwin Center on the UT campus. We have the complete recap, plus the matches that were played in the SEC and Sun Belt on Thursday.

But first a look at Friday’s schedule and a reminder that we have a list of every match and how to watch it on our VolleyballMag.com TV and Streaming Listings.

There is one match in the SEC as South Carolina goes to Tennessee.

The Big 12 slate includes Kansas State at Texas Tech and Iowa State at West Virginia, but TCU’s matches at Oklahoma were called off and have not yet been rescheduled. OU’s matches last weekend against Iowa State were also postponed, so now the Sooners (2-6 with two losses each against Texas and Baylor) haven’t played since October 23.

And in the Sun Belt, day-night doubleheaders dot the schedule as Georgia Southern is at Coastal Carolina, App State is at Troy, Louisiana-Lafayette is at Texas-Arlington, Little Rock is at Louisiana-Monroe, and Texas State is at Arkansas State.

TEXAS RALLIES AGAINST BAYLOR — First the numbers.

Pressley led all hitters with 29 kills as she had nine errors in 65 attacks and hit. .308. But she had 21 kills without an error in her first 34 swings, meaning that once she appeared to wear out a bit in the third set, Pressley had eight kills in 31 swings with all of her errors. Baylor also saw its overall percentage ultimately decline to .233 for the match as the Bears had 61 kills with 24 errors in 159 attacks.

Texas had 67 kills, including 22 by Logan Eggleston, with 19 errors in 163 attacks to hit .294. Baylor had 65 digs and Texas 64.

“I thought Baylor came out really strong and we were struggling to contain them,” Texas coach Jerritt Elliott said. “I thought we got tooled a lot with our block and didn’t give ourselves some opportunities. We weren’t playing real smooth on our side of the net in terms of our typical offense.”

Eggleston had nine errors in 60 attacks and hit .217. She had two aces, a block, and 15 digs. Skylar Fields had 14 kills, hit .306, and had an ace, a block, and six digs. Asjia O’Neal had 13 kills, an assist, two digs, and four blocks, one solo. Brionna Butler had 10 kills in 18 errorless swings to hit . 556 and she had six blocks, one solo. Molly Phillips had seven kills and hit .500 to go with four blocks and two digs. Jhenna Gabriel had a kill, 51 assists, two blocks, and eight digs. Texas played without DS Morgan O’Brien, who announced on Twitter that she tested positive for coronavirus, had mild symptoms, and would be cheering her teammates on from isolation.

Libero Nalani Iosia had 15 digs, eight assists, and none of her team’s eight aces, but served really tough, including sparking a long third-set run in which Baylor was continually out of system. Texas had 14 serving aces, while Baylor had nine and just one ace. Sydney Peterson had 11 digs and three of those aces.

”Logan struggled a little bit early on and without Mo in there I thought our passers did a real good job overall and I thought Logan really got going towards the end,” Elliott said. “We got a little more balanced and that helped us out.”

Pressley not only had all those kills, but two assists, two solo blocks, and six digs. The other outside, Lauren Harrison, had her struggles, but finished with 15 kills, a block, and two digs. Right side Marieke van der Mark had seven kills, two blocks, and two digs, but Baylor’s middles were never a factor.

”We came out strong and those first three sets were a battle for us,” Baylor coach Ryan McGuyre said. “Yossi looked back like the national player of the year, so it was good to see her dialed in. She made some good defensive moves and some good block moves for us.

“Defensively, I thought we were making some good stops and wore them down. I did feel like we had opportunities to finish it in three and when you’re on the road, you need to get out of there as soon as you can.”

Last season Texas swept Baylor and then Baylor won in five at Waco.

STATE, MIZZOU GET SEC WINS — Gabby Waden had 24 kills as Mississippi State improved to 2-4 and dropped Texas A&M to 4-2 by beating the Aggies for the second straight day, this time 14-25, 25-21, 18-25, 25-22, 15-13.

Waden hit .304 after having seven errors in 56 attacks and added a dig and a block. She had 20 kills in State’s four-set win Wednesday. Seven of her teammates had kills, including Lauren Myrick with eight and Francesca McBride with seven. The Bulldogs hit .166.

“We played hard tonight, and it paid off big time,” said State coach Julie Darty Dennis, whose team went 13-17, 2-16 in the SEC, in 2019. “I am so proud of this team. We battled, we fought and we came out on top. The composure and response after the first set was incredible. I am just so happy for my girls.

“We’re still anchored by Waden, and she had an even more phenomenal night tonight.”

A&M, which hit .191, got 14 kills from Treyaunna Rush and 13 from Morgan Davis, who have five blocks, two solo.

“We battled. We knew it was going to be a battle again tonight, but we needed to execute,” A&M coach Bird Kuhn said. “It’s executing game plan, and it’s also about knowing who we are and finishing points when we have the opportunities. We have to be more consistent, and that’s frankly what it comes down to. I give props to Mississippi State. They played consistent and clean.”

Both teams are 4-2 after Missouri swept visiting Arkansas 28-26, 25-19, 29-27 behind 20 kills from Kyle Deberg and 17 from Anna Dixon. Deberg, who hit .326, had an ace, 13 digs, and a block. Dariana Hollingsworth added nine kills, hit .364, and had an ace and four blocks, one solo. The Tigers hit .304.

“We came out a bit rusty tonight, but did a heck of a job battling at the end of set one to force extra points,” Mizzou coach Joshua Taylor said. “I was really happy with how our team kept battling adversity at the end of that opening set. Set two was definitely our strongest effort, as we hit well and also played stingy defense. Set three was back and forth again like the first set, and once again our ladies were able to step up in key situations. “

Taylor Head and Jillian Gillen had 11 kills each for Arkansas.

SUN BELT — There were three matches Thursday as Coastal Carolina swept visiting Georgia Southern and Georgia State swept South Alabama twice.

As Coastal Carolina reported, the Chanticleers “trailed just once and used 10 service aces to clinch the Sun Belt East Division with a 3-0 straight-set win (25-18, 25-14, and 25-19) over the Georgia Southern Eagles on Thursday night inside The HTC Center.

“The Chanticleers clinched their second-straight Sun Belt East Division title and extended the best start in program history to 12-0 on the season.

“Junior Anett Nemeth led the way for the Chants offensively, as she posted a stellar .519 hitting percentage en route to her match-high 15 kills. She completed the double-double with 14 kills and led the home team with five service aces in the conference win.”

Nemeth also had an assist, five aces, three blocks, and 14 digs. Coastal hit .192, while Georgia Southern (2-7) hit .047.

Georgia Southern won 25-22, 25-14, 25-21 and then 25-18, 25-21, 25-19 to improve to 8-10, while USA dropped to 8-13.

In the first match, Erin Watt had 10 kills and two aces and Meisheia Griffin and Clara Bednarek had nine kills each for GSU, while Hannah Maddox had 11 kills for South Alabama. In the nightcap, Watt had 17 kills and eight digs, and Griffin had 11 kills. Rebecca Walk had 13 kills for USA and Maddox 11 more.

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