West Virginia looks for first Big 12 win vs. Baylor
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 19, 2012 02:10
For the West Virginia volleyball team, proving its worth in the Big 12 Conference has been a daunting task.
The Mountaineers are 0-7 against conference opponents and currently sit at 8-13 overall with their last victory coming against Murray State Sept. 16.
The Mountaineers will travel to Waco, Texas, Saturday to take on the Baylor Bears in a matchup between two of the Big 12’s youngest teams.
As the Mountaineers plan for the match, they will have to figure out a way to replace freshman libero Anna Panagiotakopoulos, who will remain sidelined with what head coach Jill Kramer described as a lower back injury.
"(Anna) will be out for a bit," Kramer said. "She’s got some back stuff that she needs to come back from, so we’re just going to let her rest and recover."
Panagiotakopoulos will be tough to replace, as she has recorded double-digit digs in all but three games since her move to the libero position, and has recorded 248 digs during the course of the season.
Depth is not a concern for the Mountaineers however, as junior Liz Gulick reclaimed her libero position against Texas Tech with a season and career-high 17 digs to lead the team defensively.
"There are only six players allowed on the court at one time," Kramer said. "At the end of the day, it comes down to our six against their six. In the Big 12 you can only travel so many players, so depth is not an issue."
Kramer will also have to plan for Baylor’s Alyssa Dibbern, who has dominated the right side position for the Bears this season with 239 kills and 58 blocks. Dibbern’s numbers are not far off from West Virginia’s own right side, Nikki Attea, who has recorded 188 kills, 48 blocks and 101 digs on the season.
In addition, West Virginia’s Hannah Sackett has come alive once again and she has accounted for 38 of West Virginia’s 166 kills in October. Sackett has also helped boost the Mountaineers’ serve numbers after a four-ace performance against Texas Tech Saturday.
Consistency has been a major problem for the young West Virginia squad, and it also is the key to defeating Baylor and recording their first conference victory, according to Kramer.
"A lot of times things that look like a mistake are just things that come from a lack of consistency," Kramer said. "We’ve got to work on just being where we need to be and communicating on the court. It’s the same as it’s been all season and we just need to keep working on it."
Kramer will also look to her team’s excellent serving entering their match against Baylor as the Mountaineers sit No. 2 in the conference in aces with a 1.45 per-set average.
WVU is set to take on Baylor at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.