• Baylor volleyball reaches Sweet 16 for 4th straight year

    Baylor volleyball celebrating on the court

    For the fourth consecutive year, Baylor Volleyball is one of the last 16 teams standing in this year’s NCAA tournament. The Bears protected their home court at the Ferrell Center this weekend, defeating SFA and Rice in the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet 16.

    The Bears’ seventh straight tournament appearance began with a 3-0 sweep of SFA on Thursday, followed up by their second matchup of the year against No. 20 Rice. While the Bears won both, the Friday night showdown was drama-filled, advancing to a decisive fifth set. There, the Bears scored the first four points and held off a tough Owl squad for the win.

    “Ultimately, this team trusts each other,” said head coach Ryan McGuyre of the Bears’ poise under pressure. “They just play so free, and adjust when needed. You don’t have to worry about managing emotions.”

    First-team All-Big 12 performer Lauren Harrison (19 kills, 10 digs) and Big 12 Freshman of the Year Averi Carlson (54 assists, 11 digs) each recorded double-doubles against Rice, and sophomore Lauren Briseño collected a team-high 21 digs. That extended a memorable week for Briseño; at a team Christmas party prior to the start of the tournament, she was surprised with a full scholarship. The creative announcement went viral, and even made ABC’s Good Morning America:

    Next up for the 17th-ranked Bears is a trip to Louisville, where they’ll face No. 4-ranked Louisville around lunchtime on Thursday (roughly 12:30 p.m. CT, ESPNU). A win would advance the Bears to the Elite Eight and a date with either No. 9 Oregon or No. 7 Nebraska.

    Sic ’em, Baylor Volleyball!