After a hard fought preseason schedule, ACU will host Houston Baptist in the Southland Conference season opener at Elmer Gray Stadium on Friday.
Now that the Div. 1 four-year transition period has come to an end, the soccer team members say they are ready and eager to play now that they can qualify for post-conference play.
“We are really excited, knowing that we can go further this year,” Johnson said. “It is inspiring us, willing us to work hard, and holding ourselves accountable.”
The team has faced several challenging teams in this season’s non-conference play, including Arkansas, Oklahoma State and North Texas. Johnson said she likes playing the tough matches early on in the year.
“Non-conference is a pretty tough season, but I wouldn’t want to have it any other way,” Johnson said. “I think that Casey does a good job of setting us up to play harder teams to prepare us for conferences.”
And so far it has seemed to work for head coach Casey Wilson and his team, who have won 27 Southland matches in the last four years.
“Preseason schedules like we had allow us to identify a lot of weaknesses and what we need to work on, ultimately it was all for the best,” Wilson said.
Wilson also said the Wildcats are in a good place and have to maintain their focus for their upcoming match against Houston Baptist.
“They are always a very athletic team, we need to be on our toes and make sure we don’t have breakdowns, but all in all it is just a matter of us figuring out ways to score and making sure they don’t, that is just the game plan going in,” Wilson said.
During the four year transition period ACU held a record of 3-1 against Houston Baptist, winning the matches in 2013, 2015 and in 2016.
The game between ACU (2-5) and Houston Baptist (1-3-1) is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. and will be the first of three ACU sporting events in Abilene this weekend.