By Brian Roe, Sports Writer
After missing the Lone Star Conference tournament in 2002, the Wildcats returned to postseason action 5 p.m. Thursday at West Texas A&M.
ACU (25-10) is the No. 2 seed from the LSC South Division and competed against the No. 3 seed from the LSC North Division, Cameron (20-11) in the quarterfinal match. Cameron won the LSC conference championship in 1995 and is the only other team, outside of West Texas A&M, to win a conference volleyball title since 1995. The winner of the match between Cameron and ACU will play the LSC North Division champion Central Oklahoma 5 p.m. Friday.
“We’ve had a great season, a fun season and it’s not over yet,” head coach Brek Horn said.
The Wildcats go into the post-season tournament on a hot streak, winning their last three consecutive matches. By winning their last two games of the season, ACU clinched the no. 2 seed and avoided having West Texas A&M in their side of the playoff bracket. If ACU wins its first two matches, however, it could possibly meet up for the third time this season with the Lady Buffs for the LSC championship.
Horn said everyone will be riding their emotions since it is the post-season.
“We had a discussion the other day and we are just happy to still be practicing,” Horn said. “The fact is that there are six teams whose seasons are over. We finished the season with 25 wins and we are very proud of that but this is the time to prove ourselves.”
The team worked this week in practice on getting back to the basics and working on team defense and blocking.
“We just wanted to fine tune a few things,” Horn said. “I think our mindset is that no one is scared and everyone is confident. We want to play our game and we think we can win.”
The Wildcats have only one senior on their entire roster, outside hitter Haylee Hartline. On a team dominated by freshmen and sophomores, the majority of players have not played in a college post-season tournament, but Horn said the nerves shouldn’t dictate the match.
“The beginning of the first match will be full of nerves and adrenaline but that goes for both teams,” Horn said. “Haylee will be very important as the team will rely on her leadership and guidance.”
When asked for a prediction, Horn stuck to what she has said all season.
“I said it at the beginning of the year and I still believe that we can be the best team in this conference,” she said. “My prediction: LSC Champs.”