By Daniel Johnson, Sports Editor
The ACU volleyball team lost to Texas Woman’s University in the quarterfinals of the Lone Star Conference Tournament. But their postseason is far from over. The Wildcats will make their third-straight appearance in the NCAA Division II Southwest Regional Tournament on Thursday, with their first match against newly crowned LSC champions WTAMU.
“This is a great chance to prove ourselves,” head coach Kellen Mock said. “This is our second chance.”
The Wildcats’ second chance in the playoffs will be their third chance to beat West Texas this season. ACU fell both times the two met in the regular season and the two are the only LSC teams in the tournament. West Texas has the No. 1 seed and will host the tournament in Canyon. ACU holds the No. 8 seed. Despite losing early in the LSC tournament, Mock said she has no doubts that her team belongs at regionals.
“Our season has shown we’ve beaten the people in our region we needed to,” Mock said. “We’ve won the games we’re supposed to win and I think that means we deserve to go.”
West Texas earned its right to go to the tournament after finishing first in the Southwest region and finishing the undefeated in conference play. The Lady Buffs’ have been the team to beat throughout the season and are coming off of their 25th consecutive win and first conference title since 2003.
“I think we need to put less emphasis on the fact that it’s West Texas and more emphasis on the fact that we’re going to the playoffs,” Mock said. “We need to do everything we can to stay alive and there is no committee that will put us in the national tournament, it’s whether or not you win.”
ACU lost the conference tournament for the first time in two years after losing to Texas Woman’s 33-31, 30-24 and 30-22 on Thursday. The Wildcats’ three-game loss knocked them out of the conference tournament, ending their two-year winning streak.
“It hurts your pride to not play as well as you want to in conference,” Mock said. “You just have to put the past behind and try to make the best out of the future.”
Despite falling out early in the conference tournament, one of the Wildcats’ best offensive weapons, outside hitter Abbie Lowry, was voted to the second team of the Daktronics all-region teams. Lowry was voted in by Sports Information Directors in the Southwest conference.
If ACU wins on Thursday against West Texas, the team will move on to play either Western New Mexico or Montana State Billings.