It’s been a most unusual fall for volleyball teams from Baylor and GPS as both appear to be in the rebuilding process and aren’t quite as talented as in years past.
They’ve had some classic matches in the past as records don’t seem to matter when these two teams face off.
That was the case at GPS Tuesday evening.
Baylor improved to 10-6 overall with the 3-0 win and is now 3-1 in league play. GPS, on the other hand, is now 1-13 overall and 0-4 in league play.
It was a spirited gymnasium at the start of the match and the Bruisers were feeling upbeat and confident after getting their first win of the season on Monday against Signal Mountain.
The opening set was a dandy as there were five ties and three lead changes.
A kill from Alia Sherrow knotted the score at 19-all for the Lady Red Raiders before scoring six of the final eight points to take the 25-21 win on a kill from Daphne Chi.
The next two sets weren’t nearly as close as Baylor won by scores of 25-17 and 25-7.
By the time the match ended, the gym was really quiet as the GPS fans had little to cheer about.
Six straight service points from Libby May allowed Baylor to take an early lead in the second set. Five straight service points from McKamey Bratcher allowed the Bruisers to get within 17-13 before Baylor pulled away for the win.
GPS scored the first point of the third set before Baylor regained the advantage at 6-3 on another kill from Sherrow.
Eight straight service points from Sydney Sharpe stretched the lead from 7-3 to 14-3 while six straight service points from May wrapped up the match, ending on back-to-back kills from Elli Kinney.
Baylor coach Sarah Lail knows that volleyball excellence is a process and takes longer to achieve in some seasons than others.
She was all smiles when Tuesday’s match ended.
“I liked that,” she smiled after a brief chat with her girls after the winning point had been scored.
“We always know that the first set over here will be super close. It’s always a battle at the start and it was today, but when we get that first one under our belt, we can start to roll.
“I thought one of our keys today was our consistency. Our middles played well and when that’s the case, it opens up everything for everyone else. We’ve been winning mini-challenges this fall, but we’re definitely getting better. We’re making strides in the right direction,” Lail added.
Baylor returns to action at home on Thursday when Knoxville Catholic pays a visit and they will join Soddy Daisy in hosting the River City Rumble on Friday and Saturday. GPS will travel to Chattanooga Christian on Thursday before taking part in that River City Rumble.
GPS coach Bailey Wagner Winel was unavailable for comment following the match.
Elli Kinney – 3 aces, 5 kills, 2 blocks, 2 assists, 23 digs
Morgan Sharpe – 3 aces, 4 kills, 1 assist, 7 digs
Sydney Sharpe – 1 ace, 10 assists, 9 digs
Libby May – 2 aces, 1 kill, 14 assists, 11 digs
Nadia Sixto – 10 kills, 3 blocks
Alia Sherrow – 7 kills, 3 blocks
Franny Brooksbank – 1 ace, 10 digs
Lilly Stewart – 1 ace, 2 assists, 6 digs
Addie Margio – 2 kills, 4 blocks
Daphne Chi – 5 kills, 4 digs
Ella McCallie – 1 assist, 2 digs.
Ansley Blevins -- 2 kills, 6 digs, 2 blocks
Isabella Jenkins -- 5 kills, 5 blocks
Brooklyn Smith -- 4 kills 2 blocks
Claire Nicola -- 4 blocks, 10 digs
McKamey Bratcher -- 8 digs, 3 aces
Abbie Reel -- 7 digs.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)