Lady Bears' volleyball pounds NSU 3-0

Oct. 19, 2004

By CATHERINE BROWN, sports editor

Baylor's volleyball team swept the Northwestern State University Lady Demons 3-0 in non-conference play Saturday at the Ferrell Special Events Center.

With the win, the Lady Bears improve to 10-9 overall on the season.

After a tough 3-1 loss to the Texas Tech University Lady Raiders Wednesday, the Lady Bears were looking to gain some confidence back in the non-conference game.

The Lady Bears defeated the Lady Demons behind the solid play of junior outside hitter Stella Odion and junior outside hitter Kelly Spriggs.

Odion recorded her fifth double-double of the season, leading Baylor with 15 kills and 11 digs for the match. Spriggs posted double-digit kills for the fifth straight game. She hit .300 with 13 kills.

"I thought I did pretty good," Odion said. "I thought we all did pretty good."

In game one, the Lady Bears went up 11-3 against the Lady Demons behind two service aces by junior setter Emily Huston and multiple kills by Odion.

Northwestern State attempted a comeback by bringing the game within six, but Baylor squelched the attempt by holding the Lady Demons to a .143 hitting average in the game.

Baylor took game one, 30-20.

Head Coach Jim Barnes said Baylor was working on new plays during the game to get ready for the second half of the Big 12 season.

"With Stella, we're working on a fast tempo set to her," he said. "For the most part, it worked pretty well. We still have to iron out some kinks. But, she had 15 kills tonight, so it shows that I think that new play for her is going to help us later down the road."

Although Odion said she had just started working on the play Friday, she felt comfortable with it because she had done it before.

"We're trying to quicken up the outside sets, because I think that if we're quicker, then we can beat a lot of teams going to the line and catch them off guard with any type of hit," she said. "We're working on that and cleaning up some stuff, and I think it will be very effective in the Big 12."

During the second game, Barnes took the opportunity to rest some of his starters as freshmen outside hitter Amanda Modglin, libero Heather Marcus and middle blocker Karin Peer all saw court time. Sophomore middle blocker Desiree Guilliard-Young sat the entire second game and junior middle blocker Adeline Meira was in-and-out of the rotation during the game.

Northwestern took advantage of Guilliard-Young being on the bench, going up 17-14 in the second game.

However, the Lady Bears weren't down long. They took the lead back off a kill by Huston and three straight kills by Odion allowed Baylor to take an 18-17 lead.

Another small run by the Lady Demons put them up 21-20, but the Lady Bears came behind solid kills by Odion and outside hitter Kelly Spriggs, winning the second game 30-25.

The Lady Bears finished with a .279 hitting average in the game.

"It was a nice solid game on the offense," Guilliard-Young said. "As a team, I thought we were really good with our digging and our pursuit after the ball because there were a lot of balls that could have been dead points. Our pursuit level was really good today."

In the final game, NSU came out striking, taking a four-point lead. After the Lady Bears regained the lead on a 6-0 run, Baylor never relinquished the lead again.

At 26-20, the Lady Demons went on a five-point rally coming, within one point of Baylor. However, the Lady Bears fought back winning the last four points of the game to take it, 30-25.

"It was a huge plus to come back in this building and start playing tough, hard-nosed volleyball," Barnes said. "We had some breakdowns today and didn't play real sharp, but I think we did some things we needed to improve on and we worked on that's going to help us in the Big 12."

Huston and Guilliard-Young each finished with six kills on the night, and Baylor had a .225 hitting average in game three. The team also posted seven blocks in the final game.

With this win, the Lady Bears look to the second half of the Big 12 season and the work they need to do to win games.

"I'm sure we're going to win some more [games], but I still think we have a lot of work to do," Odion said. "Our serve receive can always get better, and our offense can for sure get better in every aspect."

The Lady Bears resume Big 12 play at 7 p.m. Wednesday against the No. 16 Kansas State University Wildcats in Manhattan, Kan. They face the University of Nebraska at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Ferrell Center.