Nov. 8, 2009

Courtesy of Baylor Athletics

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - No. 20 Baylor fought back from down a set to take down No. 23 Texas A&M 3-2 in a five-set thriller (18-25, 25-13, 27-25, 25-23, 18-16) in College Station, Texas on Saturday night. The win marked the first win over a ranked team on the road since Oct. 20, 1999, when Baylor defeated Kansas State 3-1.

Senior Anna Breyfogle and freshman Torri Campbell each had one of the best nights of their careers. Both racked up 17 kills and nine blocks. Breyfogle hit .472 with zero errors in 36 attempts, while Campbell hit .417 with only two errors in 36 attempts. At the net, both were a force that helped hold the nation's kills leader Texas A&M to a .167 hitting percentage (70-36-203) on the night.

"(Anna and Torri) carried us offensively," head coach Jim Barnes said. "They certainly did a great job, and Taylor did a great job of getting them the ball."

Baylor's back row defense, led by libero Allison King's 28 digs, was equally as spectacular in forcing A&M into hitting errors and zero attacks. Along with King, Katie Sanders and Caitlyn Trice each had 14 digs, while Jordan Rice posted 10. Sanders added 13 kills for her 14th double-double of the season.

"We just needed to dig," Barnes said. "Its all about defense for our team, that's why we have won the big games that we have won. We stepped up and made some great defensive plays. (Allison) played great. The block came alive at big moments tonight, too."

On offense, the Bears struggled through a tough first set hitting .105, but didn't hit below .200 in any of the next four, in large part due to the play of Campbell and Breyfogle. Setter Taylor Barnes had a season-high 58 assists.

For Texas A&M, Sarah Ammerman had a match-high 26 kills, but did so with 11 errors in 71 total swings. Mary Batis added 17 kills and 22 digs for the Aggies, who totaled 36 hitting errors, twice as many as Baylor's 18.

In the first set, Baylor sprinted to a 6-2 lead with two kills by Campbell and one each by Sanders and Elizabeth Graham. Texas A&M stormed back to seize control of the set with a 9-3 run, including four Ammerman kills and two by Batis. The Bears couldn't recover, as Ammerman got three more kills, then Kelsey Black finished the set 25-18 with a kill.

In the second set, Baylor jumped out to another 6-2 lead, but only tightened their grip from there. Baylor's block showed up in the set, as the Bears racked up six blocks, forcing 11 errors by the Aggies. Campbell sandwiched three blocks around two of her own kills and one by Sanders as part of a 11-5 run by Baylor. Christenson gave the Bears set-point with a kill, and Sanders put the exclamation point on a 25-13 set win with a kill.

The third set, which featured 13 ties and five lead changes, was the exact opposite of the first two. Neither team could get complete control. Baylor took a brief four-point lead at 17-13 with a block assist by Barnes and Breyfogle. Three more kills by Ammerman and an Aggie block gave A&M the lead 20-19. Baylor tied it up two more times with a kill from Campbell at 23-23, and a kill by Graham at 25-25, but a Baylor attack error gave the set to A&M 27-25.

The fourth set was the same story as the third with 16 ties and four lead changes. Neither team held a two-point lead until two straight Ammerman kills made it 15-13. Baylor bounced back with two Sanders kills to tie it, then took the lead with another kill by Sanders and one of Barnes' two service aces. Breyfogle made it 23-20, and Christenson gave Baylor one of four-set points. The Bears needed all of the cushion, finishing it off 25-23 with another kill by Christenson.

In the fifth, Baylor tied it at 6-6 with after a block by Christenson and Breyfogle, but A&M threatened to blow them out in the set, going up 11-7 on a kill by setter Jola Kelner. After a timeout, Baylor scored four of the next tive to get within 12-11 on a kill by Campbell. The freshman got another kill, followed by a ball-handling error from Kelner to tie it at 13-13. The teams traded points until Breyfogle put the Bears up one with kill, and Ammerman misfired for Texas A&M to give Baylor the set 18-16.