By Michael Freeman, Assistant Sports Editor
The ACU women’s volleyball team kicked off its season against a few of the nation’s top teams Friday at the Florida Southern Invitational in Lakeland, Fla. The Wildcats went 0-4 at the tournament, but the weekend’s results were not fruitless.
“Overall, I think this weekend was a very positive experience,” said head coach Kellen Mock. “We didn’t come away with victories like we would’ve liked to; however, we learned a lot this weekend.”
Mock said team building and competing against teams nationally ranked in the top 10 were two main benefits of the Florida tournament.
ACU got its first taste of elite play Friday against Hillsdale College, the No. 10 team in the nation according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association preseason poll. The Wildcats fell to the Hillsdale Chargers in four games, 30-21, 30-19, 30-22. Next, ACU took on Metro State and fell in a five-game heartbreaker, 29-31, 30-24, 30-18, 34-36, 15-11.
The Wildcats returned to the court Saturday as they went up against the University of Findlay. Even though each game was hotly contested, ACU fell to Findlay in three games, 30-26, 30-26, 30-19.
ACU wrapped up the weekend by playing Florida Southern, the No. 5 team in the nation. ACU lost in three games by the close score of 30-26, 30-25, 30-23.
“We played at a very high level this weekend,” Mock said. “However, this is a great tournament with really high-caliber teams, and you can’t say what could’ve been. You can only say what happened, and what we can learn from it and how we can get better.”
Errors such as not keeping serves in bounds and poor ball control played part in the Wildcat loss. Still, the season is young, and the Wildcats will have time to improve as they will not have to play another nationally ranked team until late September when they take on defending LSC champs, No. 14 West Texas A&M.
Despite falling in their first four matches, the Wildcats are confident that they will be able to rebound next week at the Alamo City Invitational in San Antonio.
“We’re going to work on cutting down errors on things that we have control over,” Mock said. “Overall, we lost the games this weekend due to our errors on our side of the court, and so we’re going to work this week to make sure that we force other
teams to make errors.”