The Texas State volleyball team closed out its home opener with a four-set loss against the Baylor Bears. Despite falling 2-2 for the season, Coach Karen Chisum believes that the game served as great preparation for future competitors.
“There’s nobody else in the conference, I don’t think, that is as good as Baylor,” Chisum said. “We’ve just got to pick our heads up and get ready for Friday in the Delta Zeta Classic.”
Alexandra Simms, senior outside hitter, and Shelby Vas Matt, sophomore outside hitter, combined for a total of 26.5 points. Both achieved double doubles in points and kills. Texas State won the first set by seven points, but Baylor countered in the second set as it minimized errors and increased hitting percentage.
In addition to Simms and Vas Matt’s contributions, Lauren Kirch, freshman middle blocker contributed 11.5 points and eight kills. Kirsch contributed 48.5 points and a team high of 41 kills in what Chisum called an outstanding weekend at the Houston Cougar Classic. Baylor quickly looked to neutralize Kirch, among others.
“I think they were keying on (Kirch),” Chisum said. “They saw her stats from the weekend, but Lauren is going to be good, she just has to terminate the play and block a little better for us.”
With 13 underclassmen on the roster, Chisum believes that only playing time can solve the issues that are fueled by inexperience. In contrast, Chisum credits Sierra Smith, senior libero, for exemplifying a degree of leadership that has allowed the team to compete against experienced teams.
“Everyone has so many different roles to bring on the court,” Smith said. “I feel like mine is to get [the team] fired up and get them going because we do have a lot of girls that are reserved. I’ve always felt like my role is to bring the energy, bring the fire and maybe a little bit of sass.”
After winning the first set with only two lead changes and three errors, Baylor won the next three consecutive sets by a combined 15 points.
“I think we got a little bit down on ourselves, and I think Baylor picked it up also,” Smith said. “I think Baylor came in really cocky and we weren’t having it that first match, but then they realized ‘Oh, they’re a little better than we expected,” so they brought the heat, and that kind of caught us a little bit off guard.”
The Bobcats will play Wichita State, UTSA, Abilene Christian and North Texas at home in the Delta Zeta Classic, which is scheduled to begin Sept. 7.
“We definitely want to keep building,” Smith said. “I think we’ve gotten better with every single game that we’ve played. We just want to build on that and go from there. We have really good competition this weekend and I’m ready to kick some ass.”