Baylor volleyball gritty in four set win over Rice

baylorbearsWACO – Andie Malloy had her second-straight match with 20 kills, and Tola Itiola added a career-high 16 kills in Baylor’s 25-20, 22-25, 30-28, 25-17 win over Rice (2-2) Tuesday night at the Ferrell Center.

Malloy became the first Baylor (3-1) player with back-to-back matches of at least 20 kills since Katie Sanders had 20 and 21, respectively against Missouri and Oklahoma Sept. 21 and Sept. 24 of 2008. Malloy hit .419 with just two attacking errors on 43 attempts. She also added 15 digs for her second double-double of the season.

Itiola continued her efficiency early in her sophomore campaign by pounding out 16 kills on a .609 hitting percentage. The middle blocker tied with Nicole Bardaji with the team lead with four total blocks.

“She did what we needed her to,” Baylor head coach Jim Barnes said. “They were single blocking her in the middle and I told her ‘Tola, you’ve got to swing away’ and ‘Amy [Rosenbaum], you’ve got to get her the ball.’ And, towards the end of that last set I was in the huddle really going at Tola telling her ‘You’ve got to hit every ball, put every one away.”

Baylor dropped set two, and then trailed set three by a score of 23-19 before clawing back to take the third set 30-28. The momentum carried over into the fourth set and Baylor kept Rice to a match-low .108 hitting percentage in the final set.

“That’s where it went to the edge,” Barnes added. “Whoever won that game had all the momentum.”

“In that set I wasn’t looking at the score, I was just watching their faces and wanting to see us compete and want the ball. And, that was the best part of the game, the fact that we competed,” Barnes said.

Baylor will play two matches in San Marcos, Texas Wednesday and Thursday facing Texas State at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and Wichita State at 5 p.m. Thursday.

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