By Joshua Parrott, Sports Writer
The end of the season is near for the ACU volleyball team.
After closing out their home schedule on Tuesday with a three-game victory over non-conference op-ponent Incar-nate Word, the Wildcats will complete their regular season this weekend.
ACU made quick work of Incarnate Word with scores of 30-21, 30-14 and 30-20. Freshman rightside hitter Amanda Slate led the Cats with 15 kills, while freshman outside hitter Michelle Bernhardt was right behind her with 14 kills and junior outside hitter Haylee Hartline followed suit with 13.
The match was the last home match for senior defensive specialist Grae Grimes, who had 20 digs in the victory. Grimes, a four-year letterman is currently second in the Lone Star Conference with 480 digs.
Grimes said her final season of collegiate volleyball has been a pleasant surprise.
“Coming into this season, I felt this was going to be a rebuilding year,” Grimes said. “But seeing the freshmen grow, both physically and mentally, and having them look up to the older girls has been a great experience.”
The Wildcats, 18-12 overall, 4-4 in LSC South Division play, lost to West Texas A&M Friday night in three games, but defeated Eastern New Mexico the following day in four games.
ACU plays road matches against LSC South foes Tarleton State and Texas A&M-Kingsville this upcoming weekend. The Wildcats play TSU at 7 p.m. Thursday in Stephenville and head to Kingsville to play the Javelinas at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Head coach Brek Horn said the Wildcats always struggle with the LSC scheduling West Texas A&M and ENMU back-to-back.
“It drains you,” Horn said. “It’s always been an emotional letdown playing them one after another, but we played very solid this past weekend.”
The Wildcats welcomed back Bernhardt, who had battled all season with back spasms. Bernhardt had only one kill against West Texas A&M, but bounced back against ENMU with 22 kills.
Slate has been a leader through her tremendous play on the court.
“She’s leading by being aggressive,” said Horn of Slate, who has had 45 total kills in her last three matches. “If she’s going to make a mistake, it’s going to be an aggressive mistake. You can’t fault a player for that.”
The win over the Greyhounds was important for the Wildcats because ENMU was one-half of a game ahead of ACU heading into last weekend’s play, but now the Wildcats are in second place in the LSC South behind West Texas A&M. ENMU is in third place, while both Tarleton State and Texas A&M-Kingsville are tied for last place.
A win this weekend would ensure the Wildcats of making the LSC Post-Season Tour-nament for the fourth straight season.