In their first home action of the season, the Wildcats took care of Northwestern State in three straight sets to move to 1-1 in Southland Conference play.
The Wildcats came out strong from the start, dominating most of the first set behind senior Jennie Loerch, who finished the night with a game-high 14 kills. ACU scored the first five points of the match and didn’t trail until the third set, on their way to 25-17 and 25-21 wins in games one and two.
Although the lead began to dwindle in game two, the 350 ACU fans urged the team forward, and freshman hitter Lauren Walker said the atmosphere was different than previous games.
“Being away obviously, people are cheering against you, but here, your friends are here, your teachers, people cheering for you and the energy is really great,” Walker said.
However, at the start of game three the momentum seemed to move Northwestern State’s way as they jumped out to an early 10-8 lead. Northwestern State improved as the set continued, pushing the lead to as many as five, 21-16.
Again the Wildcats fought back, and with Northwestern State leading 23-19, Loerch converted her fourteenth kill on the night to start the rally. After Loerch’s serve, freshman Jacey Smith ripped off two of her nine kills and Northwestern State recorded their fifteenth error of the night to force a Northwestern State timeout at 23-23.
Out of the timeout, Northwestern State couldn’t stop the rally, as another error brought ACU one point away from their first win of the season. Loerch stepped back up to the service line, the crowd rose to their feet and freshman hitter Kendall Bosse hammered home the winning point for her tenth and final kill.
“It’s what we’ve been waiting for,” Bosse said. “We’ve been working so hard for it and our hard work has just finally payed off.”
The Wildcats will now put their perfect 1-0 home record to the test Saturday when Stephen F. Austin visits Moody Coliseum. ACU will also play the third game of its five-game homestand Tuesday night against Incarnate Word on Dig Pink Night.