No. 1 Baylor volleyball opens NCAA Tournament with sweep of Sacred Heart

Published: Dec. 6, 2019 at 10:14 PM CST
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No. 1 Baylor volleyball (26-1) opened up the 2019 postseason with a dominant offensive performance to sweep Sacred Heart (20-12) Friday night at the Ferrell Center in Waco, 25-20, 25-18, 25-8.

BU hit a school-best .443 in a postseason match, surpassing the previous best of .364 against Miami (Ohio) in the 2017 NCAA First Round. Six Bears hit over .300 and were led offensively by sophomore Marieke van der Mark’s career-high 13 kills on a .600 efficiency. Big 12 Player of the Year Yossiana Pressley had 12 kills on a .320 clip.

BU matched its school record for wins set in 1993 and 1999 (26).

Defensively, freshman Kara McGhee had a match-high four blocks while senior Tara Wulf had 11 digs in the sweep.

BU started slow in the match and trailed 4-1 after back-to-back Pioneer kills. The Bears stormed back and used a van der Mark kill to take the 15-12 lead at the media timeout. BU kept its foot on the gas, hitting .410 to take the first set, 25-20.

The Pioneers led 9-7 in the second set before the Bears tied it up at 12-12 with another van der Mark kill. Back-to-back kills from Pressley gave the Bears the 15-12 lead, and a 5-0 run closed out the set, 25-18.

BU came out fast in the third frame and went up 7-2 after a kill from senior Gia Milana to force the SHU timeout. The Bears closed out the match on 10-0 run behind senior Shelly Stafford’s serve, and a solo block from McGhee ended it in straight sets, 25-8.

BU advances to the NCAA Second Round for the fourth-straight season and will face USC on Saturday night at 8 p.m. CT in Waco. The Bears look to advance to their second-ever NCAA Sweet 16 and first since 2009 with a win.

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