By Joshua Parrott, Sports Writer
Knowing an opponent’s tendencies can be a huge advantage when it comes down to winning and losing.
ACU head volleyball coach Brek Horn obviously feels different about that statement.
“We didn’t spend time watching game tape or worrying about what the other team is going to be doing,” Horn said, whose Wild-cats compete this weekend in the Rollins College Tour-nament in Orlando, Fla. “We worked on recognizing what kind of defense the other team is in and en-couraged our players to have more body control at the net. We will try to control the match with what we do.”
After splitting the first four matches of the season last weekend at the Texas Woman’s Invitational Tournament and freshman outside hitter Michelle Bernhardt being named to the all-tournament team, the Wildcats play both Rollins College and Nova Southeastern University today and play Saint Leo University and Eckerd College on Saturday.
Horn said that despite her team’s inexperience, she has high expectations for her team and her players.
“I expect us to come home 4-0,” Horn said. “I don’t really think that is too much to expect from this group here. Our inexperience is not an excuse anymore. Now is the time to go play and play hard.”
Junior outside hitter Hay-lee Hartline said she was impressed with the recent play of redshirt freshman setter Lindsey Martin.
“She did an excellent job playing setter, which is the toughest position on the court,” Hartline said. “A lot of people just expect her to perform well and she is doing a great job stepping up for us.”
Martin has a connection to ACU’s 1973 NAIA Division I national championship football team. Martin’s uncle, Chip Martin, was a member of that team and was a 1974 first team all-America selection at defensive tackle.
With the recent addition of the new libero position by the American Volleyball Coaches As-sociation, the Wildcats have listened closely to as-sistant coach Sarah Carthel, the only player or coach with any ex-perience of playing in matches with the position at the international level. Senior defensive specialist Grae Grimes has never played the po-sition before, but coach Horn said she likes the op-portunity to have her lone senior on the court for most of the match.
“The libero makes us a better team because it keeps her in the back row for most the entire time,” Horn said. “It improves the quality of the game.”
An optimistic look is key for the Wildcats, who will be playing three teams from the same conference as Barry University, the 2001 Division II National Champions.
“I feel very confident going into this weekend,” Horn said. “This weekend is going get us closer as a team. As the season progresses, the team will get closer and more unified.”