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OU volleyball: Sooners can't complete upset, lose to No. 3 Baylor in 5 sets

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Sarah Sanders

Junior Sarah Sanders intently listens with teammates during a timeout Sept. 21.

Four weeks ago, Oklahoma was soundly defeated by then-No. 1 Baylor on the road, 3-0.

OU was bested in every statistical category and it was their first time getting swept since the third match of the season. As the Sooners left Waco, Texas, and headed back to Norman, they knew they had to play better as the season passed its midway point.

And that's what they did. Oklahoma went on to win four of its next five matches, mostly in dominant fashion. The Sooners’ improved level of play set up a highly anticipated rematch with the No. 3 Bears, where the Sooners came up short in five sets Wednesday night.

And as the crowd of over 1,000 fans inside of McCasland Field House would come to find out — the rematch lived up to the hype.

After both teams split the first two sets, a clutch block from outside hitter Sara Sanders helped Oklahoma outlast Baylor in a more-than-dramatic third set, 31-29. The Sooners’ four weeks of team growth was on full display in the first three sets of Wednesday’s match, as the team who was once unable to win a single set against top-ranked Baylor was now just one set away from pulling off the upset.

However, the lead was short-lived as Baylor crushed the Sooners 25-15 in set four, tying the game 2-2.

In set five, the drama continued as both teams were deadlocked at 10 all. Then, after both teams traded a few kills, the Bears ultimately took the set, 15-12, giving them the 3-2 match win.

Oklahoma drops to 14-6 and 6-3 in Big 12 play with the loss.

"I thought we would be able to sneak out some more McCasland magic, but a good team doesn't give you a lot of points, and we knew that going into the match at Waco," head coach Lindsey Grey-Walton said. "We learned that we gave too many points away (last time vs. Baylor). A good team like that can put you in uncomfortable situations and make you bleed points... Tonight, we were actually able to turn the tables. That is progress, that's growth, that's mindset, that's belief behind the line. That is across-the-net belief."

In the end, Oklahoma was just three points away from topping No. 3 Baylor. Although this match will go down as a loss for OU, the future is starting to look pretty bright for Gray-Walton and the Sooners.

Oklahoma resumes play at 11 a.m. on Nov. 2 at Kansas.

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