By Michael Freeman, Assistant Sports Editor
After extending their winning streak to four games on Thursday against Tarleton State, the Wildcat volleyball team’s run came to a halt Saturday as they fell to Texas A&M-Kingsville. The loss was the Wildcats’ first in conference play, and ACU now holds a 6-7 overall record with a 2-1 conference record.
“Kingsville came in very fired up for the match,” head coach Kellen Mock said. “They played very good volleyball. And it was a different style of volleyball than what they had done in the past. We struggled to adjust our game.”
Texas A&M-Kingsville, under new head coach Shannon Alvarado, entered Saturday’s match in Moody Coliseum with a tenacious game plan of keeping the ball in play. The plan worked as the Javelinas took the match 30-26, 30-25, 30-32, 30-28. During the match, the Wildcats were unable to get comfortable as they faulted 13 times while on serve.
“We missed a lot of serves,” Mock said. “And when we got the serve in-bounds, it was an easy serve to pass. So we were pretty much always on defense, and that’s a really hard way to play a match.”
The win propelled Texas A&MKingsville to 7-6 overall and 2-2 in the conference. Senior outside hitter Abbie Lowry led the Wildcats with 19 kills and 13 digs in the loss.
“I don’t think our team played the best we’ve played before,” Lowry said. “I think we’re all frustrated with that loss because we all know we could’ve done a lot better, but it’s just something we’re going to have to put behind us and move on.”
The Wildcats will attempt to get back to the form they were in during the Tarleton State match on Thursday in Moody Coliseum.
“We were extremely confident and very aggressive in that match,” Mock said. “We were very successful in throwing Tarleton off their game.”
ACU blanketed the TexAnns 30-22, 30-24, 30-24 as three Wildcats finished with double-digit kill totals. Lowry ended with 13 kills, while junior middle blocker Lauren Leone finished with 12 kills and sophomore outside hitter Erin Curry had 11 kills to go along with 10 digs. Freshman setter Ijeoma Moronu contributed with 41 assists and 13 digs, while senior libero Liz Snoddy had 17 digs and sophomore defensive specialist Amy Wilson had 14 digs.
“We had a chance to play really well as a team,” Mock said. “We had a lot of fun. The girls had a great attitude throughout the entire match.”
The victory put ACU on a four-game winning streak, which ended two days later.
The Wildcats will try to add to the win column on Thursday as they face Eastern New Mexico in Portales, N.M. The Eastern New Mexico Zias own a dismal overall record of 3-14 with a 0-3 conference record. But, Coach Mock is not planning to cruise over the Zias.
“It really doesn’t matter what any other team’s record is or how they’ve been playing against other teams,” Mock said. “For example, we watched film on Kingsville, and they did not play as well on film as they did when came and played us.”
Eastern New Mexico is on a seven-game losing streak, and the Wildcats will try to keep the streak going as they attempt to rebound from their own loss against Texas A&M-Kingsville.
“This whole week we’re working on boosting our spirits again,” Lowry said. “We can’t let one game affect the rest of our season because we have really good teams that we still have to play.”