GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 17 Baylor volleyball defeated No. 7 Florida on Friday night, 3-1, in the first of two matches against the Gators.
The Bears (2-3) took the first, third, and fourth sets against Florida (4-2) to snap a three-match losing streak early in the season.
BU also improved on the series record with the Gators, with Florida leading by one at 2-1.
Baylor has started the season playing against opponents who are all ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA's weekly poll. This is the second time this season that BU has defeated a top-10 opponent when they are ranked below them, delivering the upset.
Lauren Harrison shined for the Green & Gold, delivering crucial kills and blocks to propel the Bears forward to defeat the Gators.
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Baylor and Florida tousled early, matching each other's points. Shanel Bramschreiber served an ace to make it 5-7 in Florida's favor, but the Gators took it from there, scoring three-straight points from there to make it 10-5 and for coach Ryan McGuyre to call timeout. The Bears scored the first point after the break. BU brought it back up from there with two-straight points from Avery Skinner and an ace from Callie Williams to make it 13-11, still with the Gators in control. A Baylor block from Kara McGhee and Lauren Harrison made it 17-15, then a Florida error brought the Bears to 17-16, causing the Gators to call time. Things started rolling for the Bears with a huge solo block recorded by Harrison to make it 20-18. She'd get a kill, and Yossiana Pressley would tie the set at 21-all with a kill of her own. Tied up at 23-all, they started trading points again, but Baylor showed poise and control. They finished off the set with a block from Kara McGhee and Harrison to put themselves ahead in the match.
The Bears were down early at 6-3, but Harrison continued her dominance and put up a block to stop a Gator run, and followed it up with a second kill to tie it up at 6-6. Florida brought it back in their favor for a spell, but the Bears climbed back. Pressley and Skinner recorded their seventh kills on the night to make it 18-12. A Skinner service ace brought it to 19-14, and through Gator attack errors and kills from McGhee and Harrison, the Bears found themselves at 20-19 where Florida took a timeout. A Harrison kill tied it at 20-20. BU got it up to 23-21 with a service error on Florida, and a kill by Skinner at 23-22 had the Gators take a breather. Despite the Bears' rally, Florida won the set at 25-22 after two Baylor attack errors.
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Tied at 1-1 in the match, the pressure was on. The Bears went up early at 4-2 with a Pressley ace, Preslie Anderson kill and errors on the Gators side. Skinner and McGhee solidified the lead with back-to-back kills to make it 6-2, where Florida called timeout. Florida cut the lead in half at 8-4, but the Bears answered with two points of their own and kept it coming. The Bears brought the set to 14-9 and Florida started to put a stop to it. After bring it up to 16-13, Skinner delivered an ace and Pressley had two kills to make it 19-14. A block from Anderson and Harrison had Florida calling for a pause in play. Florida answered with four points and Anderson recorded a kill to make it 21-18, raising the stakes. Four-straight kills from Harrison, Hannah Sedwick, Skinner and Marieke van der Mark solidified the set for Baylor, making the match 2-1 in their favor.
Baylor matched with Florida early at 2-2, but Florida started inching away. Kills from the Gators pushed against the Bears. Pressley was able to put in a kill of her own, and Florida led at 7-5. In a blink, Florida was up 10-5, and the Bears took a timeout. BU challenged a call that flipped to then go in their favor, and then they started to roll. Skinner and Sedwick had kills and an attack error from Florida made it 12-10. Florida called timeout, and the Bears answered with a Skinner kill, then Sedwick and McGhee followed suit to tie it up at 13-13. Pressley records two kills to put the Bears ahead at 17-16, then a big block from Pressley and Anderson make it 18-16. Lauren Briseño had an ace, and Florida calls timeout. Pressley and Skinner continue their dominance and recorded two kills to make it 21-17. Florida climbed back at 23-22 with Baylor still in the lead. Baylor glued the game together with a Pressley kill to win the final set, 25-23.
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- Yossiana Pressley led the team with 17 kills but Avery Skinner was just behind her with 16.
- Shanel Bramschreiber had 17 Digs and Kara McGhee had seven kills to lead the team.
- The Bears have only played Florida twice before this weekend, in 1990 and 1991.
- Yossiana Pressley is on track to pass Elisha Polk for career kills leader this season. Pressley has already recorded 97 kills and needs just 153 to match her.
- Hannah Sedwick is heading toward her 4,000th career assist. She has recorded 193 this season and needs 64 to hit it. She recorded 47 against the Gators.
- All matches but one have either been streamed or broadcasted so far this season.
Baylor will take on Florida in match two of two on Saturday at 6 p.m. CT in Exactech Arena in the O'Connell Center.
Fans can find live stats by visiting www.BaylorStats.com.
The second match of two will be streamed on the SEC Network +. A full recap and final statistics can be found on www.BaylorBears.com after the conclusion of the match.
To stay up to date throughout the season on all things Baylor volleyball, follow the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @BaylorVball.
The Bears will host Rice and McNeese State in the Baylor Classic on their home court, September 16-18.