By Michael Freeman, Assistant Sports Editor
A fast and furious weekend awaits the Wildcat volleyball team as it faces three top 25 teams on the road. Friday and Saturday, the Wildcats will play a total of four matches in the Lady Blue Fall Classic in Topeka, Kan. ACU will face Missouri Western State and No. 5 Washburn on Friday. On Saturday, the Wildcats are pitted up against No. 6 Truman State and No. 23 Emporia State. ACU is 7-8 on the season with a 3-2 record in Lone Star Conference play.
The four upcoming matches will not be conference matches as the teams belong to the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA). The MIAA contains 10 schools, five of which are currently ranked in the top 25, according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II poll.
“On average, they have four teams ranked in the top 25 every year out of their conference,” said head coach Kellen Mock. “Missouri Western doesn’t compete as well inside their conference. But with that kind of competition that they’re facing on a constant basis, we can expect Missouri Western to be a really solid team.”
ACU’s first match will be against Missouri Western State, who owns a 7-13 overall record. But after that, the rest of the Wildcats’ matches will be against nationally ranked teams. ACU’s other match on Friday is against No. 5 Washburn, a team that owns a dominating record of 20-1.
On Saturday, No. 6 Truman State and No. 23 Emporia State are on the Wildcats’ schedule. Truman State was on an eight-game winning streak before falling in five games to Washburn on Tuesday. Emporia State defeated No. 13 Pittsburg State in three games all by the count of 30-22 on Sept. 22.
“I think the competition against this caliber of opponent is going to help us in the long run,” Mock said. “It might be a difficult weekend, but we have enough talent that we can stack up against anybody else in the nation.”
The difficulty is apparent, as the Wildcats will play three top teams in two days. ACU has already played three nationally ranked teams this season but not in sequential order.
Coach Mock believes the competition will help prepare ACU for its conference matches. After the Lady Blue Fall Classic, seven of the Wildcats’ eight remaining matches are against conference opponents.
“It will be a good kick start to the rest of our season,” Mock said.
In the Wildcats’ previous match-ups against top 25 teams, which included Hillsdale, Florida Southern and West Texas A&M, ACU came up on the losing side in every match. However, coach Mock is optimistic about how the Wildcats will do this weekend.
“Every time we go on the floor, we expect to win,” Mock
said. “The biggest thing I’m looking for out of this weekend is for us to come back, show up together as a team, communicate well as a team and get ready for the rest of our conference schedule.”