By Michael Freeman, Assistant Sports Editor
If there was any game this season the ACU volleyball team wishes to replay, it would have to be Saturday’s match on the road against West Texas A&M. The Wildcats fell to the No. 17 Lady Buffs 3-0 as they posted a season-worst team hitting percentage of minus-.017. The loss places ACU at an overall record of 7-8 with a 3- 2 conference record.
“I felt we were well prepared,” head coach Kellen Mock said. “But when it came down to game time, we didn’t get quite as consistent of play out of our outside hitters as we would’ve liked, and I think that was the biggest drawback to that match.”
ACU lost to West Texas A&M by the score of 30-22, 30- 24, 30-24. The Lady Buffs improved to 16-5 overall and 5-0 in the Lone Star Conference. Dating back to last season, the win marked the fourth straight over the Wildcats.
ACU finished the match with 31 errors, including six service errors, while West Texas A&M hit 10 service aces. One highlight for the Wildcats was junior middle blocker Lauren Leone completing the match with 10 kills and four block assists. Also, freshman middle blocker Shawna Hines ended with seven kills, one block and four block assists.
“I think West Texas is an outstanding volleyball program,” Mock said. “I do think they’re beatable. There were some opportunities that just slipped through our hands. We’re going to have to start capitalizing on every opportunity we have to score, especially if we want to be at the level West Texas is playing at right now.”
The Wildcats did play at a higher level earlier in the week, however. ACU took down Eastern New Mexico in five games by the count of 30- 23, 30-17, 28-30, 25-30, 15-7 Thursday night in Portales, N.M. Freshman setter Ijeoma Moronu almost picked up her first career triple-double as she racked up 59 assists, 15 digs and eight kills. Also for ACU, senior outside hitter Abbie Lowry had 20 kills and 15 digs, junior middle blocker Lauren Leone finished with 17 kills and sophomore middle blocker Krystine Cethoute added 11 kills. The loss dropped Eastern New Mexico to 3-15 and 0-5 in conference.
“We really had to fight to pull out the win against Eastern,” Mock said. “But it was a great match, and I think we saw some good play from a couple of our players.”
Next up on ACU’s schedule is the Lady Blue Fall Classic in Topeka, Kan. this Friday and Saturday where the Wildcats will play four teams, three of which are ranked in the top 25 nationally.