16th-ranked Baylor volleyball ‘dreaming big’ as 2018 season begins
When Baylor volleyball opens the 2018 season Friday night, they’ll be looking to build on what’s becoming a golden era for the program. The last two seasons have been the best in Bears history, and preseason rankings indicate their opponents anticipate that run of success continuing.
Head coach Ryan McGuyre’s squad is ranked 16th in the nation to begin 2018 — the highest preseason ranking in program history. Big 12 coaches picked the Bears to finish second this year — also BU’s best-ever preseason conference placement. On the heels of last season — which saw Baylor finish with a 24-7 record, place second in the Big 2, earn a No. 12 national seeding and make the program’s first back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, McGuyre says the team is “dreaming big.”
Having three returning all-Americans helps. Junior Shelly Fanning and sophomores Yossiana Pressley and Hannah Locklin were all named to the Preseason All-Big 12 squad, the first time Baylor has ever had three preseason honorees. (Worth noting: As impressive as the Bears are on the court, they’re just as impressive in the classroom. They recently were awarded an American Volleyball Coaches Team Academic Award, marking the fifth consecutive year they’ve earned that honor. The award is presented to programs who maintain a team GPA of 3.30 or higher.)
The 2018 season begins this Friday night when the Bears host LSU in the Hampton Inn & Suites North Baylor Invitational. Their challenging schedule features a road trip to California to take on UCLA and San Diego, home matches against Rice and Wisconsin in the Baylor Classic, and an always-challenging slate of opponents when Big 12 play begins next month.
Sic ’em, Bears!