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SMU lost to TCU in Saturdays Iron Skillet game 34-17. Next years matchup is the last scheduled game in the longstanding rivalry.
SMU falls short at TCU
September 26, 2023

SMU Volleyball defeats No. 14 seed Baylor

Saki Teng
An SMU Volleyball player spikes the ball against Baylor in Moody Coliseum.

The Baylor Bears came out hot but fell out cold against SMU in Wednesday’s first home game for the Mustangs in Moody Coliseum.

The Bears took no time to shake off their bus legs, as they quickly took the lead at the top of the match. Still, those few points Baylor took to put themselves ahead wouldn’t be enough to keep down the Mustangs.

The Mustangs and Bears were in a back-and-forth battle in the first set, with SMU securing their first lead at 14-13. Yet Baylor stayed vigilant, taking and keeping the lead for the majority of the set. SMU came firing back to bring the score within one.

However, after four big kills from Baylor, the momentum wasn’t enough for the Mustangs. The Bears were now up one set to none after a 25-21 finish.

SMU and Baylor looked evenly matched throughout the game, especially in the first few points of the second set. SMU came out strong taking the first lead.

Baylor’s resilience was evident, still. The Bears came back on top at a 7-6 score and continued to remain ahead in the set.

Baylor did an excellent job of withholding SMU from taking back the small lead the Mustangs created at the beginning of the set. The Bears were able to stay on top of SMU with a three-to-four-point difference until the 23rd point.

SMU Senior outside hitter Natalie Perdue had a fantastic game. It was her block that gave SMU its 23rd point to tie the set.

“I definitely think that we fought hard for this one; it was a battle from the start,” Perdue said.

Saki Teng

With errors from Baylor in the next two plays, SMU won by two, making the set score one to one.

The energy in Moody was electric by the third set. Perdue never faltered as she gave the Mustangs 7 blocks and 16 kills for the game. SMU middle blocker Emma Clothier was key to her team’s victory as well.

A big block from Clothier to give SMU its 20th point of the set. Moody erupted in support of the imminent Mustang win.The Mustangs held their lead and won the set 25-21.

Baylor felt the pressure in the fourth set and responded, grabbing a 7-4 lead in just the first minutes.

After two serving errors from both teams at the 20th point, it seemed nerves were mounting, and both the Bears and Mustangs were feeling it after each had made silly mistakes.

Perdue had a striking kill to tie the game at 23. Just as it seemed SMU was going to close this one out, the fourth set victory slipped away as Baylor scored its 24th and 25th points.

SMU was just 15 points from beating the No. 14 seed.

The Mustangs dominated most of the fifth set. A block by Perdue put the Mustangs up 7-6, but an error by Baylor had the momentum completely shifted to SMU’s advantage. The Mustangs were able to hold their lead all the way to the finish.

Every point won in this set had the SMU bench exploding. Head Coach Sam Erger and Assistant Coach Trent Sorensen were the most animated they’d been all game.

SMU emerged victorious with the winning block by Clothier and setter Celia Cullen. The girls rushed the court to celebrate their hard-fought win.

“We didn’t quit and came out with the win,” said Perdue. “Going forward, I think we can still clean up some little things as we continue, but I don’t think it’s anything we can’t handle.”

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