It was just 20 days ago on August 29 when Baylor and GPS faced each other for the first time this season in volleyball. The match was played at GPS. The Bruisers lost that day, but they left feeling pretty good after winning a set and giving the defending state champs all they wanted at times.
The second match between these two storied rivals at Baylor wasn’t nearly as close.
Baylor improved to 25-4 overall and 10-0 in region play with Tuesday’s 3-0 sweep, the Lady Red Raiders needing right at an hour to win by scores of 25-16, 25-11 and 25-13. The Bruisers are now 15-9 overall and 5-3 in region play.
There was quite an impressive group of fans from both schools at the first match and the same was true on Tuesday, but the Baylor students were much more spirited and had greater numbers, creating quite an arena for celebration as the Lady Red Raiders get better and better with each passing day.
Baylor won six matches last weekend when they won the River City Rumble. They didn’t seem to have any letdown following that latest championship, but Baylor coach Sarah Lail knows that GPS is one of her teams’ biggest rivals and nothing needs to be said to get them ready to play.
“I’m really pleased with how we played, especially after the way we played this weekend. Region matches have always been important to us as they determine post-season seeding, but these are the matches they remember for a long time and I always want them to have fun when they play,” Lail said after the match ended.
“I’m excited about how we’re playing these days as we’re playing our best volleyball at the right time. It took a little while for this team to develop its chemistry, but we seem to be putting it all together at the right time.
“We want to be really good in October, but we’re right where we need to be right now. We just have to keep working to get even better,” Lail added.
The Bruisers have been without the services of Reagan Long for the last two weeks and their play has suffered. First-year coach Jasmine Brown is still searching for answers, but she’s having a hard time finding any.
“We struggle with first ball contact and it’s tough to be a very good volleyball team when that’s the case,” she said after a talk with her team.
“It wasn’t our strongest battle and we certainly didn’t play our best volleyball, but we just have to wipe the slate clean tomorrow and keep working to get better.
“Baylor is an outstanding team and we knew we’d have a tough match, but we still have a lot of matches to play, so the season is far from over,” she nodded.
Preslee Brooksbank was again the leader for GPS as she finished with 11 kills and 10 digs. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a whole lot of support.
Karly Benefield had 11 digs and Kylie Barry nine, but the Bruisers simply didn’t have an answer for Baylor's hard-hitting front line.
Denver Rogers led the Baylor attack with a dozen kills and 15 digs while Sarah Barker had 10 kills and Ally Craig nine.
Elaine Redman was the main leader of the Baylor offense as she finished with 40 assists. She also had four kills, three digs, an ace and a block.
Both teams return to action with road matches on Thursday, GPS facing Cleveland and Baylor traveling to meet St. Cecelia. Both will be at home on Monday to face region foe Father Ryan.
Kylie Barry – 9 digs
Karly Benefield -- 11 digs
Katherine Berce – 4 digs
Preslee Brooksbank – 11 kills, 1 ace, 10 digs, 1 block assist
Faith Copeland – 2 aces, 7 digs
Kendall Crum – 6 kills, 1 dig
Chapel Cunningham – 1 kill, 2 digs
Charlotte Vance – 2 aces, 2 digs
Ansley Blevins – 2 kills, 1 dig, 1 block assist.
Sarah Barker – 10 kills, 2 blocks
Hayden Barton – 4 aces, 4 digs
Elizabeth Case – 1 ace, 2 kills, 5 digs
Ally Craig – 9 kills, 3 blocks, 6 digs
Sierra Herndon – 4 kills, 2 blocks, 1 dig
Laura Kate May – 6 digs
Elaine Redman – 1 ace, 4 kills, 40 assists, 1 block, 3 digs
Denver Rogers – 12 kills, 15 digs
Emoree Rogers – 2 digs
Maddy Tindall – 1 assist.
(email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)