The ACU volleyball team will take on the Incarnate Word tonight at 7 p.m. in Moody Coliseum for their first game in seven days.
“We are at the point where, because of the Div. I change, every team we play is physically a tougher team to play than we were seeing last year,” head coach Kellen Mock said. “The amount of times the girls have had to hit the floor and the amount of jumps they are taking is more. The week off has really helped us to rest and recuperate.”
Along with the rest the break provided, the team was able to take some time to improve the mental aspect of the game.
“It has been a crazy week because of everything that is happening on campus, so it was nice to have a physical break,” senior Madelyn Robinett said. “The practices this week have been mentally intense though, which has been really good for us because we have been making some mistakes mentally the last few matches.”
Like ACU, the Cardinals are moving from the Lone Star Conference to the Southland Conference. Both teams have been playing the toughest schedule in the program’s history and will look forward to seeing a familiar team on the schedule.
“It is nice to see familiar faces,” Robinett said. “It is easier to scout and know the tendencies of the other team. It is good to not have to go into the game blind. I know for me, I am more comfortable playing a team we have played before.”
Incarnate Word features two hitters that do most of the heavy lifting for them offensively, which will be the main threat for ACU’s front line.
“We are typically pretty good at focusing in on one or two hitters,” Mock said. “It is not always easy to stop a really talented hitter, so those two players are girls we will have to be aware of. But our block is just a different animal for most teams to play against. We have done pretty well stopping dominant hitters this year.”
Because it is ACU’s Homecoming game, the team is hoping for a huge crowd that will give the Wildcats a home court advantage in Moody Coliseum.
“We want the crowd to be so loud,” Robinett said. “When people are there and loud, it is intimidating in Moody, which helps us a lot on the court.
Offensively for the Wildcats, sophomore Jennie Loerch leads the teams in kills with 186. ACU will look to get her involved early and often along with other frontline athletes Lexi Mercer and Neely Borger.
Defensively, Mercer can reach 100 blocks on the year with a nice game tonight and libero Madison Hoover has excelled, digging the ball far this season with 266.