Bobcats preparing to face Baylor in home opener

Sports Reporter

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The Texas State volleyball team finished last weekend’s Houston Cougar Classic with a 2-1 record.

Texas State hosts Baylor Wednesday in its home opener. The Bobcats are 28-13-22 all-time against the Bears in their previous 63 meetings.

Coach Karen Chisum hopes history will repeat itself, but she expects Baylor to improve from last year. She said Baylor’s size will test the team’s defensive backline.

“Baylor is going to bring in a physical team, better than the three teams we saw this weekend,” Chisum said. “They are a very good Big 12 team. There won’t be anyone in our conference bigger than them. Their size will help us a lot.”

The Bobcats defeated Lamar in five sets and Houston in four sets as the team converted 220 points in three games.

“We worry about what we’re doing on our side of the court,” Chisum said. “We’re coming off of a confidence-builder for us. Over the weekend, we really got better every match, so I was really pleased with that.”

Chisum said the team is working on establishing its offense against Baylor’s size. The Bobcats are working on reducing errors to force the Bears into mistakes.

Shelby Vas Matt, sophomore outside hitter, and Lauren Kirch, freshman middle blocker, earned All-Tournament honors in the Cougar Classic. The duo tallied 78 kills and 91 points in three games.

“We’re really well rounded,” Vas Matt said. “We’ve been working on passing and serving a lot, so I feel like we can really get them out of rotation with our serve.”

Sierra Smith, junior libero, played all 14 sets last weekend, with a team-high five service aces. Smith played every set in last year’s four-set win against Baylor.

“We’ve played them before,” Smith said. “We know what they’re bringing. I feel like us being so young and having new girls on the court, it’s very hard to scout us.”

Chisum said the backline defense, the unit that supports the frontline, was the team’s strength in the Cougar Classic. The middle blockers, led by Kirch, the Sun Belt’s Freshman of the Week, need to create more offense, Chisum said.

Texas State rallied from a 2-1 set deficit against Lamar in its season opener. The Bobcats outscored the Cardinals by eight points in the final two sets to clinch the victory.

“We’re the definition of Bobcats,” Smith said. “We fight. We claw and scratch our way to the top. I know we’re a very hardworking team, and that will push us to, hopefully, another championship.”

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