By Brian Roe, Sports Writer
After reaching a climax in the season Tuesday night by clinching the Lone Star Conference South Division title in a win over Angelo State, the Wildcats return to Moody Coliseum for a pair of non-conference matches against Incarnate Word Friday at 6 p.m. and against St. Mary’s Saturday at noon.
Head coach Brek Horn said she scheduled the two non-conference matches on purpose to make sure her team stayed sharp in preparation for the LSC Post-Season Tournament. The tournament begins Thursday in Lawton, Okla., at the home of LSC North Division champion Cameron.
“I didn’t want the girls to have a week in between matches, so we scheduled two matches after conference play ended,” Horn said.
The Wildcats have played both Incarnate Word and St. Mary’s this season. ACU defeated Incarnate Word on Sept. 11 in a four-game match in San Antonio and lost to St. Mary’s in a three-game sweep on Sept. 10.
“There’s a revenge factor toward St. Mary’s since they beat us earlier in the season,” Horn said. “But we can’t overlook Incarnate Word. We’ll worry about Incarnate Word first and then focus on St. Mary’s.”
Horn also said the final two games of the season are important to the Wildcats because the team wants to remain undefeated at home. Assistant coach Sarah Carthel said the team will be motivated to reach that goal.
“One of our goals from the beginning of the season was to win every home match,” Carthel said. “There are only two more home matches left, and the girls will be motivated to win them.”
One of the reasons the Wildcats are undefeated at home this season is because of their setter, junior Lindsey Martin. Martin leads the entire Lone Star Conference in total
assists (1,339) and assists per game (13.39). The Wildcat setter was also named LSC South Setter of the Week-for the fourth time this season-for her play last week against Texas A&M-Kingsville and Tarleton State.
“She’s just a great player and really makes our offense work,” said senior libero Kellen Morrow. “She and I came in together, but Lindsey red-shirted her freshman year.”
Martin and the Wildcats are not only the LSC South Division champions, but the team is also ranked No. 3 in the Southwest Region Poll behind Nebraska-Kearney (25-0) and Fort Hays State (21-2). ACU owns a record of 21-7 overall and 17-4 against regional opponents.
The top eight teams in the final regional poll of the season will be invited to the regional tournament. If the Wildcats win the LSC Post-Season tournament they will be guaranteed a spot in the regional tournament. No Wildcat volleyball team has ever reached the regional tournament.
“Our overall goal this season is to make it to the regional tournament and be a competitive team there,” Horn said. “But first we have to take care of business in our conference.”