FORT WORTH, Texas — The No. 16-ranked Baylor volleyball team took down the reigning national champion, No. 3 Wisconsin, on Saturday afternoon in Fort Worth, winning 3-2. It was the second match for the Bears in the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge, the third match overall for the tournament. The Bears (1-1, 0-0) brought down the Badgers (1-1, 0-0) in five sets, winning 21-25, 25-22, 26-24, 21-25, 15-12. Leading BU on the weekend was senior outside hitter Lauren Harrison, who had 36 kills combined against Minnesota and Wisconsin.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Bears came out of the tunnel rearing to go, as did Wisconsin. The first set started at 1-1, with Kara McGhee recording a kill for BU. The entirety of the set was a rhythmic back and forth, continuing this way down to the wire. At 19-19, kilsl by UW's Julia Orzol and Sarah Franklin prompted a Baylor timeout at 21-19. Thrown off, Orzol committed a service error. At 24-21, BU called for another timeout, but a Badger block gave them set point.
Two-straight service errors started the second set, followed by a Mallory Talbert kill. The Badgers went on a tear, but Cassie Davis quieted them with an ace at 7-5. Closing the gap early, Talbert recorded back-to-back kills. Riley Simpson made it 9-8, then Kara McGhee added on to tie it, 9-9. Solidifying the run, Carlson served up an ace. At 16-16, Wisconsin called timeout, then went up two in a row before Talbert got a kill of her own. Then at 21-21, Harrison brought the bears up by one before back-to-back blocks from Talbert and McGhee and Talbert and Harrison made it set point (24-21) and UW called for a pause. Wisconsin answered with a kill, but Elise McGhee solidified the set as Baylor's with a kill of her own. It was the first time on the young season that the Badgers had dropped a set.
Tied at one set apiece, Elise McGhee got the first point for the Bears in the third to tie it at 1-1. Back and forth ensued until Wisconsin went up at 11-8. Quickly replying, the Bears tied it. UW came right back, going up by three to make it 16-13. At 22-21 Baylor, the Badgers called time. A kill from Lauren Harrison had the Bears tie it at 23-23, then a BU service error put UW up by one. Simpson, Elise McGhee and a McGhee sisters block finished the set at 26-24 to put the Bears up in the match, 2-1. In set three alone, both Harrison and Simpson had five kills apiece, the McGhees each had two block assists, and Carlson had eight assists.
After multiple Wisconsin attack errors, the Bears were quickly up 4-2. BU had a few errors of its own, which tied it back up at four-all. At 6-6, The Badgers began their ascent and went on a 7-3 run to make it 13-9, where Baylor called timeout. The Bears gained a few points back, but it was quickly 18-15, then BU pushed and it was 21-19. Baylor called time again at 23-20, but UW made it 24-20 with an ace. Lauren Harrison got a kill to lessen the lead by a hair, but Orzol of Wisconsin shut it off at 25-21. In the fourth, Simpson had five kills while Harrison tallied eight, and Talbert, both McGhees and Harrison each had one block assist.
Schollmaier Arena was well aware of the battle taking place, with both Baylor and Wisconsin fans alike raising the decibel level in the building. Tied at 2-2 for the match, set five went underway. UW came out firing with an ace but a block from the McGhees hushed the cheers quickly. The Badgers went up at 5-3 but Simpson got a kill and Kara McGhee and Carlson got a block to tie it at 5-5. 7-7 came quickly thanks to Kara McGhee and Sarah Franklin. At 9-9, Lauren Harrison put an exclamation point down in the form of a kill. Averi Carlson got a kill to go up one at 11-10, and Wisconsin called time after Simpson and Kara McGhee blocked Franklin at 13-11. Another Franklin kill wasn't enough to save them at 13-12, with Harrison delivering a blow and Orzol committing an attack error to end the set and match, 15-12.