Baylor Sweeps GPS In Regional Volleyball Battle

Lady Red Raiders Now 30-6 Overall After 3-0 Win Tuesday

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - by John Hunt

The Baylor volleyball team is having quite a season and they're doing it with three freshmen and a sophomore in the starting lineup.

They've already had winning streaks of 10 and 12 matches and the latest was snapped by defending Class AA state champion Goodpasture in the Tennessee Tandem tournament this past weekend.

Improving to 30-6 overall and 4-0 in region play, the Lady Red Raiders started another winning streak on Tuesday afternoon at home in front of a spirited group of Baylor students, faculty members and Red Raider fans.

The win came against cross-town rival GPS and it really wasn't close as Baylor won in three straight by scores of 25-15, 25-14 and 25-10.

The entire event was over in 61 minutes.

"I have to unwind for a second," said Baylor coach Sarah Lail after her team had recorded another victory.

"We played really well, but it's always fun when you're playing your arch-rival in front of a crowd like we had today.  We had a game plan, we stuck to it and it worked well.  We knew that number seven (Olivia Berger) could take control of the match, but that if we could slow her down, we had a good chance to win today.

"I thought we had a balanced attack, but it's nice to have the depth we have.  It got kind of tense at the start of the third set, but I just told them to settle down and play it one point at a time and that's what they did," Lail added.

The Bruisers never led in the first two sets while the only ties were at 1-1 in both.  Then in the third set, GPS got two kills from Berger and another from Reagan Williams to score six of seven points in one stretch for a 7-4 lead.

It didn't last long as Baylor regrouped in a hurry.  Freshman Gabby Gray uncorked three of her six aces as the Lady Raiders scored seven straight points to an 11-7 lead.  Baylor's attack continued and the match was basically over after the Lady Raiders scored 12 of the next 14 points.

Rachel Ford, one of three seniors on the Baylor squad, finished the match with an ace as the Baylor fans erupted in celebration.

GPS coach Paul Brock called timeouts on several occasions during the match, but nothing ever seemed to work very well for the youthful Bruisers.

"Man, they're good and we did a great job of making them look even better," Brock joked after a post-match discussion with his girls.

"We didn't pass very well and we didn't block anything, so we know what we didn't do very well.  The season's not over as there's still a lot of volleyball left to play, but we'll lick our wounds and try to learn from it.

"I knew we had plenty of shortfalls that we needed to compensate for, but the plan didn't work.  Baylor attacks well from all over the court, including from the back row, and they have very good ball control.

"I thought that Kelby (Crownover) was all over the place and I'm glad we had our setter back, but she's still not 100 percent," he added, referring to Williams, who was playing her first match of the season after having foot surgery in mid-August.

Gray was one of the leaders for Baylor as she finished with 11 kills, six aces andn four digs.

Haven Bethune had 24 assists to go along with seven digs and three kills while Ford finished with seven kills, five digs and an ace.

Lilly Turner, one of those three talented freshmen, had 14 digs and a pair of aces.

Berger was tops for GPS with 10 kills and 15 digs while Kelby Crownover finished with 18 digs.

Williams had nine assists, six digs and two kills while Jenna Simpson had nine digs and six assists.

Baylor returns to action at home on Wednesday with always-tough Soddy Daisy while GPS will be at home on Wednesday to host East Ridge and Walker Valley.

The Bruisers are now 13-18 overall and 1-3 in region play.

GPS STATS:

Kelby Crownover -- 18 digs, 1 ace;

Jenna Simpson -- 6 assists, 9 digs;

Olivia Berger -- 10 kills, 15 digs;

Caroline Vance -- 6 digs;

Angela Bonds -- 7 kills;

Katie Brandao -- 1 kill;

Gabby Hughes -- 1 assist;

Courtlyn Martino -- 1 kill;

Reagan Williams -- 2 kills, 9 assists, 6 digs.

BAYLOR STATS:

Greyson Ingle -- 2 kills, 1 dig;

Kate Kaufman -- 1 kill, 1 dig;

Jane Wilson -- 2 kills, 1.5 blocks;

Haven Bethune -- 24 assists, 3 kills, 7 digs;

Cassie Elrod -- 7 digs, 1 ace;

Lilly Turner -- 14 digs, 2 aces;

Gabby Gray -- 11 kills, 6 aces, 4 digs;

Lexy Hellerstedt -- 1 kill;

Rachel Ford -- 7 kills, 5 digs, 1 ace.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)


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