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Volleyball looks to gain ground in Big 12 standings on key road trip

Nov. 12, 2010

By Rachel Roach
Sports Writer

The Bears travel to Manhattan, Kan., to play Kansas State this Saturday. The team is going into the match after coming off a tough loss against Texas.

But the Bears are taking the defeat as a learning experience and will enter the match against the Wildcats more prepared.

"It proves to us that we can hang with these teams," senior Ashlie Christenson said.

The loss to the Longhorns dropped the Bears to seventh place in the Big 12 with a 6-9 record in conference play.

Baylor enters the match having swept Kansas State (10-16, 4-11) in their last meeting. Despite Wildcats' "big hitters and big block," Christenson believes the team just needs to remain focused and not take Kansas State too lightly.

The senior sees that match as a way to improve the team's confidence, but warns that the Bears can't be too lax.

"They're not the team that they used to be last year," Christenson said. "It's about gaining our confidence, but not getting too confident because if we do that we might get swept ourselves and get taken advantage of."

Head coach Jim Barnes said the team needs to serve tough and continue to side-out well for the match.

"We have to continue siding-out. We've done well in the last two matches," Barnes said.

The Bears also plan to target Kansas State outside hitter JuliAnne Chisholm.

"Their outside is playing really well and we have to slow her down," Barnes said.

After stopping the hitter, Baylor needs to execute transition hitting.

"We're just going to work on transition hitting. After we dig it, our hitters [must] transition off the net to get back and attack, and that's how we need to score more efficiently. And we need to get more points by setting our right side," Barnes said.

The team has the skill to compete with highly ranked teams, as it was proven in their first set against Texas on Wednesday evening. The Bears just need to work on polishing the mental aspect of their game.

Sophomore Kate Harris mentioned the team needs to focus on their attitude.

"We just have to be confident in ourselves. We need to be focused on what we're doing and not the other team," Harris said.

Barnes further explained the team's need to work on staying focused. The main mistake the players are making is getting too excited about good plays during games, he said.

"When we get way up or way down we start thinking about winning or losing rather than focusing on that one skill," Barnes said. "It's mental because we stop focusing on what we did to get the lead. ... They get distracted and they start hoping to win instead of focusing on just passing and

the fundamentals."