The Wildcat volleyball team provided plenty of entertainment for fans Tuesday night in Moody Coliseum.
ACU battled back and forth with University of the Incarnate Word through five sets and despite losing a 2-0 advantage was able to come out with a 3-2 victory (25-17, 25-21, 21-25, 26-28, 18-16). The Wildcats have played two Lone Star Conference teams and are 2-0. The win moves them to an overall record of 6-4 on the year. Incarnate Word’s record drops to 4-6 and 1-3 in the LSC.
Sophomore outside hitter Madelyn Robinett was happy the team fought back.
“I was really proud of us. It shows we have a lot of character to be able to pull out the win after losing the lead like we did. We got complacent after winning the first and second sets. We lost mental focus but regained it in the fifth.”
Head coach Kellen Mock said you have to be careful when playing teams in the LSC.
“If you come out on top against a team in our conference and you’re dominating, it can be hard for them to get back in the match. On the other hand, the moment you ease up on the accelerator, they have an opportunity to get something rolling, which can become hard to stop.”
Mock also said the team performed extremely well the first two sets.
“I think our team overall played well at times. Our serve receive was much better. Game one and the first half of game two were probably the best we’ve played in the last week. Winning under those circumstances gave the girls confidence that they can overcome their own messes.”
This wasn’t the ‘Cats only close match against a conference opponent. In their first conference game of the year, ACU went five sets with Texas A&M University-Kingsville and came out on top.
Senior Jennie Hutt had a monster game with a career high of 32 kills, a .424 hitting percentage, nine digs, a block, and two assists. She played a major role in all five sets. In the first set, Hutt had 10 kills (.667 hitting percentage). Then she ended the second with a kill coming off the bench. The third and fifth sets were much the same, collecting 15 more kills along with no errors.
In the tight fifth set, Hutt put the Wildcats on the board early 2-0. The Cardinals would fall behind 7-3 only to mount a comeback and take the lead 12-10. Five points later, on a match-winning opportunity for Incarnate Word, Hutt hit a clutch strike to tie it at 14-14.
The ‘Cats and Cardinals were neck and neck until the score hit 16-16. Stephanie Bonura committed an attacking error to give ACU the chance for the final blow. Robinett, on the next point, crushed the match winner off an assist from Caley Johnson.
Robinett was more than pleased to score the final point.
“I was ecstatic. A rush of relief came over me when the ball hit the ground. I’m glad I had the opportunity to make the winning shot.”
Johnson had 49 assists, only two shy of her personal best. Freshman Haley Rhoads saw playing time and chipped in with 16 assists, while Kelsie Edwards led the team with 28 digs. Robinett was among three other teammates in double-digit kill totals (11).
For Mock. games such as these can be both exciting and stressful.
“On my end, it does make you want to pull your hair out sometimes, but I love watching the girls bond together and decide they’re going to accomplish their goals even when the deck is stacked against them.”
Incarnate Word was held to a .196 hitting percentage; however, they out-blocked the Wildcats, 14-7.
ACU travels to Denton on Saturday, Sept. 17 for a conference game against Texas Women’s University at 2 p.m.
Texas Women’s is currently 1-6 overall and 1-2 in the LSC. Their only win came against Midwestern State University in five sets. Last season, the ‘Cats played the Pioneers twice, beating them once in the regular season and once in the LSC Post-Season Tournament.