The No. 15 West Virginia volleyball team comes off a bye week as it will try to continue its four-game winning streak when it faces No.2 Baylor on the road this Thursday and Friday.
West Virginia (5-3, 5-3 Big 12) head coach Reed Sunahara thought the bye week was better for the team’s momentum as they got some rest.
“It was good. We needed recovery time and also to work on things that we need to get better at, so I thought everyone did a good job,” Sunahara said. “I just hope we didn’t lose anything by having the bye week.”
The Baylor Bears (9-1, 9-1 Big 12) are coming off a sweep against Iowa State in both matches in their doubleheader last week. The only loss for the Bears came against Kansas, a team that WVU beat twice.
Baylor is led by Yossiana Pressley and Lache Harper. Both won Big 12 Players of the Week awards last week, Pressley for offense and Harper for defense.
Yossiana Pressley is a spiking machine with 159 kills on the season in just 10 matches. The senior averages 4.39 kills a set.
Coach Sunahara acknowledges how great of an offense Baylor has compared to their teams.
“I think our defense has to make adjustments to what their offense is doing,” Sunahara said. “We also have got to try and expose their weaknesses.”
Lache Harper is third in blocks on the intimidating Baylor defense with 29 blocks. Kara McGhee and Marieke van der Mark share first on the team with 30 blocks.
To counter Baylor’s deep defense is West Virginia’s great attackers Natali Petrova, Kristin Lux, and Briana Lynch. Petrova leads the way with 110 kills, Lux with 96, and Lynch with 89 on the season so far.
In their eight matches, the Mountaineers have outscored their opponents in blocks with 84.0 total.
Audrey Adams leads the Mountaineers with 39.0 blocks, while Briana Lynch is right behind her with 38.0. Last game West Virginia played against TCU; Lynch led the team with eight blocks in the four sets that were played that night.
This isn’t only just a game for Sunahara and the Mountaineers, this is a chance for West Virginia to make a statement in the Big 12 and in the country.
“This is the third time that we are going to be on national television this season, and I don’t think we’ve ever had that in the program’s history,” Sunahara said. “So, it’s good exposure for us and our players and for people to see what we’re doing.”
The West Virginia Mountaineers and the Baylor Bears will start their first match in the doubleheader on Thursday. Coverage will begin at 7 P.M. on ESPNU.