It was a classic case of “no rest for the weary” as volleyball played four games in four days against teams that all boasted a Top-100 RPI.
The Wildcats lost each of the four matches, as they were swept by Colorado and Texas Tech, but came close to pushing both Wake Forest and Rice to a fifth game.
Junior outside hitter Jacey Smith said this weekend will help propel the team through the rest of preseason play and hopefully conference.
“I think we learned a lot about trust this weekend,” Smith said. “And trusting ourselves, our skills and our confidence in each other. We competed really well against really good teams in Colorado, so I think we can take that momentum into this next weekend and definitely into conference.”
The Wildcats came out strong against both Wake Forest and Rice, taking the first set against the Demon Deacons and second game from the Owls, but both times the teams stormed back to win in four games.
Against Wake Forest in game 3, with each team knotted at a game apiece, the game was tied at 20 before the Demon Deacons scored five straight points to take a 2-1 and ultimately win the match in game 4.
After falling in the first game against Rice, the Wildcats battled to a 26-24 game 2 victory, but the Owls proved too much in the rest of the way.
Smith said in future matches where ACU competes early one the team has to keep control if they want to come out on top.
“We talked a lot about control, just as a team, controlling our side of the net, and controlling the net in general,” Smith said. “So I think just taking every point and Angela always says forcing our will against other teams and kind of be in control of the match.”
In the final match of the tournament, ACU struggled to get anything going against the undefeated Buffaloes. And in Monday’s Labor Day match up against head coach Angela Mooney’s former team, the Red Raiders, the Wildcats looked every bit like a team that had played four consecutive days, falling 25-12, 25-20 and 25-20.
Sophomore Amanda Chapa continues to be a bright spot of the Wildcats’ defense. She dug out 82 attacks over the four games and is averaging 5.65 digs per set. Chapa also earned Southland Conference Honorable Mention Defensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row.
ACU returns to action this weekend when it travels to Las Cruces, New Mexico and El Paso for the Borderland Invitational. The Wildcats will begin conference play at home Sept. 23.