By Jared Fields, Sports Editor
The Wildcats finished the first half of division play Saturday against their toughest conference opponent, West Texas A&M and won 3-0 to maintain a perfect division record.
“We had more confidence than usual,” freshman middle blocker Lauren Leone said. “They were really good, but we were just stronger.”
ACU won with scores of 30-20, 30-22 and 30-21 against WTAMU, pleasing head coach Brek Horn.
“That was a good match and intense all the way through,” Horn said. “We played probably one of the best defensive matches.”
The defense kept West Texas from executing plays, and the stats showed it
“We held them to a negative hitting percentage,” Horn said. “That’s pretty amazing, too.”
The offense was amazing in its own right as well. Three players had double digit kills, and the team’s hitting percentage was an outstanding .364 in the third game and .264 for the match. Michelle Bernhardt led the team in kills with 17, followed by Abbie Lowry with 13, and Amanda Slate with 12. Lindsey Martin also added another 41 assists to her career total.
On Thursday, the Wildcats faced Eastern New Mexico and also won 3-0. Eastern gave the Wildcats a game too close for comfort in the first game, but ACU pulled out the all important first game, 30-26, then won the next two games 30-20 and 30-17 for the win.
Lindsey Martin notched another high assists count, 38, putting her above 5,000 assists for her career. Martin is only the fourth player in Lone Star Conference history to surpass the 5,000 assists mark.
Next for the Wildcats is the LSC Crossover Tournament in Denton. The team plays Cameron and Southwestern Oklahoma State on Friday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively. Saturday the Wildcats finish with hosting school Texas Woman’s at 3 p.m.
Horn said she will try to conserve energy this week in practice to keep from wearing down her players.
“It’s going to be a tough weekend,” Horn said. “I hope that at this point in our season it doesn’t tire us out too much.”
Horn is doing more than conserving energy midway through the season. She said that she will implement different plays for the second half of the season to keep opponents from picking up on habits.
“If we’ll change that up and add some new things and throw a little kink in that, then they won’t be ready,” Horn said. “Plus it makes it more fun for the girls.”
The major challenge for the Wildcats during the second half of division play will be playing four of the five games on the road. The only home game will be Oct. 20, against Tarleton State.
“Knowing that we’re having to go on the road so much, I think that it’s just a confidence thing,” Horn said. “I like the fact that we’ve beaten everyone, when we go into their gyms, we have that little bit of an edge.”
The Wildcats have now won 16 straight games and 31 in a row in Moody Coliseum. However, don’t expect the Wildcats to get complacent.
“We can still get better,” Leone said. “We still have room to get better.”