By Daniel Johnson, Sports Editor
After unsuccessfully defending their 34 at-home winning streak, head volleyball coach Kellen Mock has a new challenge for her 4-7, conference-bound team: don’t make the same mistake twice.
The Wildcats’ mistakes and inconsistencies last weekend led to a 1-2 finish at the ACU Wildcat Classic on the heels of their first conference match against Texas A&M Kingsville. ACU lost to Ouachita Baptist and Missouri Southern in its first two matches of the tournament.
“We’re going to have to learn how to play consistently and win as a team,” Mock said. “Now that we’ve experienced losing at home, we know we don’t want to let it happen again.”
The two losses during the tournament were the Wildcats’ first consecutive home losses since 2000.
Although ACU had 75 kills, 71 assists and 69 digs in the opening match against Ouachita Baptist, the team’s mistakes outweighed its successes.
The Wildcats’ 28 attack errors helped Ouachita outlast ACU and eventually win the match, 13-30, 30-22, 24-30, 31-29 and 15-12.
ACU also lost to Missouri Southern 30-24, 30-18 and 30-25.
The Wildcats’ only win of the tournament was a three-game victory over Lubbock Christian in the last match of the tournament. ACU overpowered LCU, winning 30-26 and 30-1. The win was the Wildcats fourth of the season and their first in less than five games.
Abbie Lowry recorded 20 kills against LCU in addition to her 34 in previous matches of the tournament. Red-shirt freshman Erin Curry had the second-most kills in the tournament with 12.
Mock said the biggest weakness she saw in her team this weekend was its inability to block the outside of the net, something they will try to improve before beginning conference.
“We came out playing like us-with our A game ready to go beat somebody,” Mock said. “But they picked up their game and we didn’t know what to do.”
Junior libero Liz Snoddy doesn’t want to focus on the mistakes the Wildcats made this weekend and throughout the preseason. She said she is ready to start over in conference play.
But the team’s inexperience might work against it.
ACU rotates eight girls who have never played on a collegiate level before this season.
“We do play a lot of younger girls, and they’re still learning the college game,” Mock said. “College volleyball is very different than high school or club, and we’re still learning how to outsmart our opponents.”
Mock’s newcomers and the rest of the Wildcats will attempt to outsmart Kingsville at home Thursday in their first conference match.