The Wildcat volleyball team had a successful weekend as they beat three out of four of their opponents in the St. Mary’s Tournament at San Antonio to open up the season.
Head coach Kellen Mock was very happy with her team’s results in San Antonio.
“I’m pleased with the tournament. I wish we could’ve beat Regis but we did a good job of overcoming adversity. Our offense came together well. Our blocking and ball control needs to improve, however.”
ACU’s first match-up pitted them against the University of Illinois at Springfield on Friday whom, they defeated 27-25, 25-20, 25-23.
Sophomore middle blocker Neely Borger and freshman middle blocker Sara Oxford both shined versus the Prairie Stars.
Borger had nine kills and two blocks, while Oxford had eight kills and five blocks.
Underclassmen setters Caley Johnson and Haley Rhoads also had big games with Johnson recording 17 assists and Rhoads receiving 14.
The Wildcat volleyball team totaled 41 kills in the match among nine different players.
Illinois-Springfield had a .100 hitting percentage and only one player finished with more than six kills (29 total team kills).
On the other hand, the ‘Cats hit .153 and four players achieved over six kills.
Regarding her young players Mock said, “I was very pleased with our two middles (Borger and Oxford). They are both forces to be reckoned with. The underclassmen did a wonderful job this weekend.”
The Wildcats couldn’t carry that momentum into their next opponent however, as they fell to Regis College 25-20, 25-16, 25-17. Despite senior outside hitter Jennie Hutt’s strong performance (11 kills and 14 digs), a .136 team hitting percentage hindered the ACU squad.
Regis hit a whopping .272 and had two teammates in double figures in kills (Christina Henzgen with 11 and Gina Morgan with 10).
“Regis did a better job of communicating. They had better ball control,” Mock said. “They also took better control of the overall game then we did.”
This loss wouldn’t slow down ACU in the second day of the tournament though.
The Wildcat bunch regrouped to take a pair of matches from East Central University (15-25, 25-22, 25-11, 25-21) and Pace University (25-18, 25-23, 25-21).
“We talked a lot about playing as a unit,” said Mock. “They did that on Saturday after losing to Regis and the results were favorable.”
Mock made some changes after the first day, which paid off afterward.
The ‘Cats raised their hitting percentage by .100 in the two games (.245 combined versus. ECU and Pace).
Johnson managed the offense and accumulated 81 assists on Saturday.
“Caley really played well for us and played the catalyst role for us. We moved from running a 6-2 offense to a 5-1 after the first day and let Johnson run the floor by herself,” Mock said. “Just having one setter can clear up any communication issues”
In the win over ECU, Hutt had 14 kills along with 11 digs. Borger had 10 kills, two service aces, and eight blocks. Although the Wildcats were defeated in the first game, they finished off the Tigers in the next three to claim the victory.
Pace couldn’t change their fortune at St. Mary’s against ACU as they lost all four of their contests. Hutt, Kalynne Allen, and Oxford performed well in the win. Hutt finished with 14 kills and 12 digs, while Allen and Oxford each had 10 kills. Pace hit a lowly .112 in the match.
“To go from 1-1 to 3-1 gives a young team a lot of confidence,” Mock said.