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Volleyball team looks for redemption

Nov. 10, 1999

By ROBBIE SINCLAIR

Reporter

One month ago, the Baylor volleyball team used a win against Texas A&M University to propel it through a stretch in which the team won 7-9 matches, had a National Player-of-the-Week award and were nationally ranked for the first time in school history.

Now the No. 23-ranked Bears hope to use the No. 15 Aggies as a catalyst once again to overcome an upset loss to the University of Missouri.

Baylor (21-6 overall, 9-5 in the Big 12 Conference) will take on A&M at 6 p.m. at G. Rollie White Coliseum in College Station. Texas A&M is 19-5 overall and 10-4 in the conference after falling to the University of Nebraska on Saturday.

'It's going to be loud,' senior outside hitter Elisha Polk said. 'Their home crowd is very supportive, even rowdy.'

Middle blocker Amber Woolsey is a force on both the offensive and defensive sides of the net for Texas A&M. The 6-foot-3-inch senior boasts team highs with 331 kills, a .368 hitting percentage and 116 total blocks.

Senior outside hitter Summer Strickland is a strong second option with 224 kills, and sophomore setter Jenna Moscovic has collected 860 assists.

'Offensively, you can't avoid a good middle blocker,' Baylor head Coach Brian Hosfeld said. 'You just have to make her [Woolsey] stay honest. Kirsten Berg gives us a chance to keep them guessing, but it's going to be a total team effort.'

Polk added that the Bears did not concentrate on defending Woolsey in the first match and would not do so the second time around either.

Central to the success of Baylor's team effort is the duo of senior outside hitters Kia Young and Polk. Young leads Baylor with 451 kills, and Polk is right behind with 415. Polk had been in a mini-slump by her standards, but rebounded with 23 kills against Missouri.

'Elisha is finding her stride,' Hosfeld said. 'But she will have lots of opportunities to get back to her level.'

Even with the loss to Missouri, Baylor is still in a good position to qualify for the NCAA tournament and possibly win at least a share of the Big 12 title. The Bears are currently tied for fifth place in the conference with the University of Colorado.

'We might have taken them a little too lightly because of their standing in the conference,' sophomore setter Dana Chuha said of Missouri. 'I think we could have prepared better both mentally and physically.'

The University of Texas and the University of Nebraska are on top of the standings at 11-3 in the conference, while Kansas State

University and Texas A&M sit tied at 10-4.

After tonight's match, Baylor will still play at Nebraska and against Kansas State at home in the final week of the season.

'Our focus is taking things one game at a time,' Chuha said. 'We still have six teams to go and three are ranked, so we still have the bulk of the Big 12 left.'