The Wildcat volleyball team found itself in a familiar position on Sunday – waiting for someone else to decide its fate.
It is the exact position head coach Kellen Mock and her team said they did not want to be in earlier this season. The last two seasons, the same situation occurred. Each time, the Wildcats were left without a playoff bid and wondering ‘what if?’
Throughout the year, the Wildcats showed that they would be the ones controlling their own fate. First came a big win against Mesa St. in the opening tournament of the season. Then there were wins against Nebraska at Omaha and, at the time, No. 11 Emporia State. To close it off was an undefeated run through the Lone Star Conference until the final weekend.
The only real blemish to the Wildcats’ season was a loss at home to West Texas A&M which cost the ‘Cats a chance at hosting the LSC tournament. The loss didn’t seem a big deal at the time, as most players and fans thought another conference championship rematch between WT and ACU was on the horizon.
In the first round, the Wildcats rolled past Texas Woman’s without a hitch. They won in straight sets, and only Angelo State stood in their way of another title appearance. The Rambelles hadn’t even managed to win a set in six tries against the Wildcats this year. Then came three sets the Wildcats will want to forget. A dominant season for the ‘Cats went up in smoke in a matter of 72 minutes.
There were 16 attack errors, five service errors and three reception errors. Watching the game, it was easy to see who the better team was that day. ACU even led most of the third set, but the Rambelles got points when it mattered most and closed the deal with a 28-26 third-set win.
Where was the team that had two winning streaks this season of more than ten matches? What happened to not leaving it in the hands of someone else?
So Sunday night the Wildcats waited, like they had done the past two seasons, wondering if they would get to play another match in their 2010 campaign. Sure, this year there were more in-region wins and only one conference regular-season loss, but would it be enough?
After 20 minutes of watching the NCAA Selection Show, the Wildcats saw what they had waited 3 years to see: ‘Abilene Christian’ on a line of the NCAA National Championship bracket.
Gone are the worries of having to spend another off-season thinking about what could have been. But this still begs the question: what Wildcat team will we see? Will it be the one who couldn’t be stopped throughout the regular season? Or will it be the one who laid a goose egg against Angelo?
We find out at noon on Thursday in Central Missouri against third seeded Truman State.