Unbeaten Baylor Rolls Past Cleveland For 30th win

Lady Red Raiders Prevail By Scores Of 25-16, 25-13, 25-12 On Senior Night

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - by John Hunt

The Baylor Lady Red Raiders have produced more than their share of outstanding volleyball teams in head coach Sarah Lail’s tenure, but this year’s team may be the best ever.

There are no real superstars like in years past, but they have a talented group of young ladies who can beat you from any number of spots on the court.

Facing one of its biggest tests of the season on Senior Night Thursday, the Baylor girls remained unbeaten as they rolled to their 30th victory of the season against the Cleveland Lady Blue Raiders.  Cleveland took a set from Baylor during a pre-season play day, but Siegel is the only team to win a set in those 30 wins.

It was close for a while, but when the outcome had been determined, Baylor came out on top with the 3-0 win, set scores being 25-16, 25-13 and 25-12.

“I’ll take it,” Lail smiled as she took a break from Senior Night activities that included a bag of goodies for three seniors, including Sarah Sumida, Lexie Laurendine and manager Hadrian Ho. 

Sumida is a seven-year day student who celebrated her 17th birthday on Thursday while Laurendine is a two-year starter from Sewanee who transferred to Baylor from St. Andrews-Sewanee.  Ho is a three-year dorm student from China.

“That was a great match.  Cleveland was definitely on point with their defense, but once we got into the flow of things, everything turned out okay.  It took us a little while to get in system and I thought our defense really stepped up in the second and third sets, which really helped our offense.

“Cleveland has a really good team year in and year out and that’s why we want to play them, but I’m really proud of my girls as they came ready to play tonight,” Lail added with a smile.

Cleveland is now 21-11, but coach Trish Flowers couldn’t have been any more proud of the effort her girls gave.

“The scores in this match don’t reflect in any way how well we played defensively as Hannah Longley and Lydia Martin were outstanding on the back row,” Flowers began.

“Baylor has another good team as usual, but I think they just have more depth than us.  We were lacking in consistent communication and that hurt, but I felt like Baylor had to earn every point they scored.  I’m glad we could play them later in the season as that will help us, but we just need to learn from a match like this. 

“We played really good defense on the back row, but we need more hitters,” the Cleveland coach added.

The first set was by far the best and most competitive as the score was tied six times in the first 12 points as neither team was able to score back-to-back points.

Back-to-back kills from Zoe Ubamadu allowed Baylor to build an 11-7 lead as Cleveland called its first timeout.

A kill from Cleveland’s Nicole Glaser allowed the Blue Raiders to get within 16-14, leading to Baylor’s first timeout, but the girls in red responded with five of the next seven points and the Red Raiders finished off the set  behind five straight service points from Laura Kate May.

Baylor scored the first three points of the second set and never trailed, although Cleveland got within a point four times, the last time being 10-9 on a kill from Emma Flowers, the coaches daughter who had 18 kills for the match.

Two aces from May and a block from Sarah Barker stretched the Baylor lead to 14-9 while six straight service points from Ally Craig a few minutes later stretched a 16-11 difference to 22-11.  Ubamadu’s kill made it 24-13 before a hitting error by Cleveland gave Baylor a 2-0 lead.

The third set was tied at 1-1, but four straight service points by Sumida gave Baylor a 10-3 lead and the difference continued to grow.  Craig’s kill clinched the match for Baylor.

Ubamadu and Craig both had 10 kills to lead the Baylor hitters while Craig and Denver Rogers had 12 and 10 digs, respectively.  Sumida had her usual outstanding match with 35 assists and seven digs while May had five aces and Ubamadu was credited with seven blocks.

Flowers was the leader for Cleveland with 18 kills and nine digs while Martin, Longley and Anna Renshaw all had 10 digs.  Renshaw also had 16 assists.

Cleveland has a badly-needed weekend off from competition before another road trip to Chattanooga on Monday to face GPS.  Baylor returns to action on Tuesday with a road match at Soddy Daisy.

CLEVELAND STATS:

Sophia Lakatosh – 2 digs, 1 kill

Lydia Martin – 10 digs

Nicole Glaser – 2 digs, 1 kill

Kenli Young – 4 digs

Hannah Longley – 1 ace, 10 digs

Emma Flowers – 18 kills, 9 digs, 1 assist, 1 block

Cydney Brock – 1 block

Madeline Dasher – 2 digs

Joy Douglass – 1 dig, 1 block

Anna Renshaw – 10 digs, 3 kills, 16 assists.

BAYLOR STATS:

Sarah Barker – 2 kills, 2 blocks

Elizabeth Case – 1 ace, 6 digs

Sarah Sumida – 1 ace, 5 kills, 1 block, 35 assists, 7 digs

Hayden Barton – 1 ace, 8 digs

Zoe Ubamadu – 10 kills, 7 blocks

Ally Craig – 10 kills, 2 blocks, 12 digs

Laura Kate May – 5 aces, 9 digs

Denver Rogers – 3 kills, 1 assist, 10 digs

Lexie Laurendine – 6 kills, 3 digs.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)



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