What a statement from Baylor Wednesday night.
Not only did the No. 3-ranked Bears defeat Texas for the first time since 2001 to even the season series at 1-1, but they set an attendance record with 7,357 fans inside the Ferrell Center — almost 1,000 more than No. 1 Texas’ attendance record of 6,385 set back in 1996.
And Yossiana Pressley did it again. She tied her season-high with 31 kills and set a new career-high with 24 digs.
“I looked up at the stat (board), and I was like, ‘That’s wrong. That is so wrong,’” Pressley said of her dig total. “I thought that was maybe my errors. I was a little shocked.”
More on this massive result with NCAA Tournament seeding implications to come, but first a look at Thursday’s schedule, which includes a number of conference postseason contests.
Four conferences begin their postseason tournaments on Thursday: Atlantic Sun, Ohio Valley, Sun Belt, and Western Athletic.
In the six-team ASUN tournament, No. 1 seed and host Florida Gulf Coast (26-4, 14-2) and No. 2 Kennesaw State (20-8, 13-3) earned first-round byes, but No. 4 Lipscomb (15-12, 11-5) and No. 5 Stetson (12-14, 9-7) play each other Thursday in the quarters, as do No. 3 Liberty (18-10, 11-5) and No. 6 North Florida (15-17, 7-9).
Jacksonville State (19-9, 13-3) leads the field in the eight-team Ohio Valley Conference Championship. Thursday, JSU, which is hosting the tournament, plays No. 8 seed SIUE (14-14, 9-7). The three other quarterfinals are No. 3 Murray State (18-10, 12-4) versus No. 6 UT Martin (13-18, 9-7); No. 2 Southeast Missouri (20-10, 12-4) vs. No. 7 Tennessee Tech (13-16, 9-7); and No. 4 Morehead State (21-8, 12-4) versus No. 5 Austin Peay (11-19, 9-7).
Texas State (22-8, 14-2) will host the Sun Belt tournament, which features an interesting format for an eight-team bracket. No. 5 Louisiana (14-15, 10-6) and No. 8 Arkansas State (16-12, 7-9), as well as No. 6 Appalachian State (13-16, 9-7) and No. 7 UTSA (16-12, 8-8) play in the first round Thursday before the quarters Friday, semis Saturday, and championship Sunday. No. 1 seed Texas State and No. 2 seed Coastal Carolina (23-5, 13-3) have byes into the semis.
The WAC’s top teams gather this week in Orem, Utah, home of the Utah Valley Wolverines for the 2019 championship. Thursday, No. 3 Kansas City (16-10, 12-4) takes on No. 6 Seattle (13-17, 4-2) and No. 5 seed and host Utah Valley (10-18, 7-9) faces No. 4 UT Rio Grande Valley (14-16, 8-8). League-undefeated No. 1 seed New Mexico State (25-3, 16-0) and No. 2 seed Grand Canyon (23-5, 13-3) received byes into Friday’s semifinals.
Thursday’s schedule also features one regular-season ACC match with North Carolina (14-11, 11-4) looking to stretch its win streak to five in a row as it hosts Duke (12-16, 5-10).
It’s a busy night in the Big Sky Conference, which does not have a postseason tournament and is in its last week of regular-season competition. Standings leader Northern Colorado (21-7, 15-1) hosts Portland State (10-18, 6-11), and second-place Weber State (20-7, 11-5) has Montana (6-21, 5-11) on deck. Also there’s Idaho (13-15, 9-7) versus Southern Utah (13-15, 6-10), Eastern Washington (6-22, 4-12) at Northern Arizona (18-10, 11-5) , and Idaho State (7-21, 4-12) hosting Montana State (13-12, 9-7).
No. 18 Hawai’i (22-3, 12-2), the current Big West leader, needs two wins this weekend to guarantee at least a share of its first conference title since 2016. That quest begins Thursday versus CSUN (12-15, 7-8) at home in Honolulu.
No. 11 Colorado State (26-1, 16-0) has already locked up the 2019 Mountain West title, but the Rams still have a few regular-season matches to go, including Thursday versus San Jose State (10-17, 5-11). Elsewhere in the conference, New Mexico (10-19, 5-12) has Air Force (8-20, 5-11), Wyoming (19-8, 14-2) takes on Nevada (17-11, 7-9), and Fresno State (13-15, 6-10) plays Boise State (16-11, 8-8). Finally, there’s San Diego State (14-13, 7-9) at Utah State (2-26, 2-14).
Two Pac-12 matches are included on Thursday’s schedule. First No. 22 Washington State (22-6, 11-5) at Arizona State (15-12, 7-9), which defeated the nationally ranked Cougars in the teams’ first meeting of 2019. Then Southern California (15-11, 9-7) hosts Oregon State (9-18, 3-13).
Both ranked WCC teams play Thursday, with No. 20 San Diego (21-5, 14-1) facing Gonzaga (10-17, 4-11) and No. 13 BYU (22-4, 13-2) taking on Portland (11-15, 3-12). Also Pepperdine (16-10, 12-3) has Santa Clara (18-10, 8-7) and Loyola Marymount (15-12, 9-6) plays San Francisco (7-19, 3-12).
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Baylor gets redemption: Texas swept Baylor when they played last month. Not this time.
Yossiana Pressley took 82 swings in the five-set match that went Baylor’s way 25-23, 25-23, 21-25, 23-25, 15-9.
Now the two teams are tied atop the Big 12 as Baylor improved to 12-1 conference, 22-1 overall. Texas is 19-3, 13-1.
At the end of the fourth set, Pressley got blocked twice in a row and then hit out on set point, allowing Texas to push the match to five. So in the fifth set, Baylor mixed it up. Freshman middle Kara McGhee tallied three kills, Gia Milana scored two, and opposite Marieke Van der Mark and middle Shelly Stafford each had one in the 15-point set.
Also in the fifth set, Texas subbed out senior outside hitter Micaya White — who finished the match with 17 kills, three blocks, and nine digs — and freshman opposite Skylar Fields. After exiting the game, Fields donned a back brace, while White was seen sitting on the bench icing her leg.
Texas had just three aces but 16 service errors and hit .194. Baylor, which hit .182, had three aces and six errors.
Pressley who admitted in post-match interviews that she was pretty tired in the fifth set, hit .171 and had an assist and two blocks. Milana finished with nine kills, hit .086, and had a block and four digs. McGhee had eight kills, hit .150, and had six blocks and a dig. Shelly Stafford also had eight kills, hit .333, and had two assists, and ace and three blocks, one solo. Van der Mark had four kills, five digs and five blocks, one solo. And Lockin had three kills in five errorless attempts, 53 assists, two aces, a block and 11 digs.
“For Yossi to get some of those kills down the stretch, she was really having to paint the lines and hit the corners,” Baylor coach Ryan McGuyre said. “For her to drop 31 kills on just a great, great team defensively just speaks to who she is.
“It’s always a team effort, but I know how much our girls love her. She’s got to be a top national player-of-the-year candidate, for sure, and just playing so well on the biggest stage so far.”
Logan Eggleston led the Longhorns with 18 kills, hitting .260, and had four blocks and 12 digs. White had 17 kills, hit .189, and had nine digs and three blocks, one solo. Fields had 11 kills, hit .161, and had seven blocks. Brionne Butler had nine kills, hit .259, and had a dig and eight blocks, one solo. Setter Jhenna Gabriel had 45 assists, two aces, a block and 15 digs …
Elsewhere in the Big 12 Wednesday night, Oklahoma (17-8, 9-5) swept Kansas State (8-18, 3-11) and Texas Tech (16-12) beat Iowa State (17-9, 8-6) in four.
Ashlynn Dunbar led Oklahoma with 15 kills, hitting .314 and adding four digs, four blocks, and an ace. Paige Anderson had eight kills with just one error to hit .500. Kansas State’s Gloria Mutiri set her team’s high with 10 kills and just two errors on 15 swings to hit .533.
Emily Hill had 16 kills and 18 digs in the win for Texas Tech, and Iowa State middle Candelaria Herrera tied Hill’s match high with 16 kills of her own, along with two aces, five digs, and five blocks. Iowa State libero Michal Schuler set a personal best with 30 digs.
Big Ten: Michigan (19-8, 12-5) needed five sets to get past Michigan State (14-13, 5-12). May Pertofsky led the Wolverines with 18 kills (hitting .400), an ace, four digs, and four blocks — one solo — in the 25-19, 24-26, 23-25, 25-17, 17-15 win. Paige Jones added 16 kills, two aces, five digs, and a block. Cori Crocker had 10 kills and hit .444 as the Wolverines hit .301. She had a dig and seven blocks, one solo.
Biamba Kabengele led Michigan State with 12 kills, but had 11 errors to hit .025. She had three digs and three blocks, one solo. Molly Johnson had 10 kills, four aces, a dig and four blocks, one solo.
No. 8 Penn State (22-4, 15-2) swept Indiana (13-17, 2-15) 25-16, 25-20, 28-26. Middle Serena Gray smashed 14 kills, hitting .500, for the Nittany Lions. Jonni Parker added 10 kills, seven digs, and a career-high six blocks, a career-high. Kamryn Malloy led Indiana with eight kills, but had seven errors and hit .026 as her team hit .050 …
Purdue (19-7, 11-6) crushed visiting Rutgers (8-20, 2-15) and, no, that second-set score is not a misprint, 25-14, 25-4, 25-18. Purdue, which hit .319, got 13 kills from Caitlyn Newton, who hit .370, had four aces, six digs and four blocks, two solo. Blake Mohler had 10 kills, hit .471, and had a dig and three blocks. Rutgers hit minus .021.
The SEC’s leaders Kentucky and Florida both won in straight sets.
No. 14 Kentucky (21-6, 14-2) held Missouri (18-7, 10-5) to a .127 hitting percentage with 35 digs and 12.5 team blocks. Leah Edmond led with 18 kills, while Alli Stumler added 10. Kylie Kuyava-Deberg posted 13 kills for Missouri, but made 10 errors, hitting just .081 as her team hit .127 …
No. 15 Florida (22-4, 13-2) beat Auburn (6-20, 0-15) by the same score in all three sets: 25-17. Holly Carlton had 13 kills for the Gators, while Thayer Hall contributed 10. Both players had just one error for the match. Lily Tomason led the Tigers with 10 kills.
Around the nation: Cal Baptist (14-16) finished its season with a five-set, non-conference victory over UC Riverside (6-21). Four of the five sets went to extra points (27-25, 25-23, 24-26, 27-29, 21-19), with the fourth set setting the record for the longest game in the Division I era for Cal Baptist.
Junior middle Sydney Marks set a career-high with 21 kills, hitting .349, and senior Elizabeth Gilley, who is listed as a DS, recorded a personal best of her own with 15 kills to go with 10 digs. She also became the new program career leader for sets played (421). As a team, the Lancers posted 14 blocks, a season-high. Other notable performances included 27 digs from libero Nicole Abreu, tied for the sixth-most in an NCAA-era match at CBU, and a season-high 55 assists from Natalie Zimmerer.
The Highlanders, who have one match left to play in their 2019 season, were led by freshman Amarachi Osuji with a match- and career-high 25 kills to go with 12 digs, three blocks, and two aces. Ayla Fresenius added 19 kills and 14 digs, and middles Kat Lowry (13 kills, four blocks) and Isabella Scarlett (11 kills, eight blocks) also put up good numbers.