The Wildcat volleyball team gained sweet revenge on Tuesday, Nov. 1 against Angelo State University.
In Moody Coliseum, ACU was able to defeat 16th-ranked ASU 3-2 with scores of 25-23, 20-25, 25-23, 15-25 and 15-13. This was the Wildcats’ second match versus the Rambelles this season. The first resulted in a five-set loss at Angelo State.
The upset was complete after sophomore Neely Borger and freshman Rachel Riley recorded an enormous block. Riley had five kills and three blocks on the night, while Borger assisted in seven blocks and one solo.
Head coach Kellen Mock felt Angelo State matched up well with her girls.
“You can see by two games, one going to each team, that we’re pretty evenly matched. We played well. It was one of our best opportunities to execute a game plan, and the girls did.”
“Our front row did a great job. The first play of the game, the preseason offensive player of the year, Chelsie Gibson, went up for a swing, and Oxford stuffed her. Borger also did the same thing later in the match. It was fun to see.”
Senior Jennie Hutt felt the team never gave up.
“I was elated after the match. We were resilient and as a result, it was a good win for us. Angelo is a great team, so we had to earn it. It shows we’re capable of doing anything we set our minds to. ”
ACU moved up to 18-12 overall and 12-6 against Lone Star Conference opponents. Despite the loss, ASU still boasts a record of 26-4 and 15-3 in the LSC, good enough for second place.
The Rambelles had been fighting for first place with West Texas A&M University, but this loss puts them at the No. 2 seed for the conference championship with two matches still to play.
The Wildcats stay put in third place, a game ahead of Tarleton State University.
The theme of a back-and-forth uphill battle for both teams became evident early in game one. The ‘Cats were ahead early 8-5 ASU however, tied it at 8-8 on a kill by Celeste Bonter. From there, neither team could build a larger advantage than two until the Wildcats, on a kill from Sara Oxford, gained a 20-17 lead.
Junior Kalynne Allen ended the first set with a kill. ACU hit .279 in the set and .220 for the entire match. Allen had 14 kills, 18 digs, and a .294 hitting percentage at the end of the five-set thriller.
Angelo State hit .222. Debbie Ohl was the leader for the Rambelles with 18 kills. Maddie Huth also contributed with 15 kills and five blocks.
During the second set, ASU didn’t make the mistake of falling behind. Angelo hit an impressive .311 average nevertheless, the Wildcats hung tight. The Rambelles scored five of the last seven points to insure the victory.
In game three ASU clearly had the momentum, building a lead of 18-13. ACU never lost hope, though. A 6-2 run featured three kills, a block and assist from Oxford. A rejection by Borger and Haley Rhoads inched the Wildcats to within a point at 20-19..
Angelo would get one more point before Abilene Christian came to life, racking off four straight kills and grabbing the lead, 23-21. Rhoads assisted all four attacks. She finished with a career high 63 assists. For the second time, Allen finished off the set with a kill.
Mock has been preparing the team for these types of circumstances.
“We practice those scenarios all the time. When a situation like that occurs, the girls aren’t scared to try and win the game.”
Hutt was confident in the team even when they were down.
“We played like we were ahead. When we were out there everyone was calm. It didn’t matter what the score was because we knew we would come back.”
Unfortunately, the Wildcats looked as though they lost focus in the fourth set. The team committed 10 errors contributing to a measly -.091 hitting percentage. The Rambelles ended the match on an 8-2 run.
The ‘Cats quickly switched gears in the final game. Key to the set was the 3-0 lead build up by ACU immediately after the disappointing fourth-set performance. The match came to a close in exhilarating fashion. Hutt’s 21st kill and a block by Borger/Riley gave the Wildcats the edge after a 13-13 tie.
The win was huge in Mock’s view.
“Angelo has had the season we wish we would’ve had, but now the girls are proving to themselves and everyone else it’s possible to play at their level.”
Kelsie Edwards quietly set the school record for most digs in a single season with 583.
ACU plays Cameron for the final game of the regular season in Moody Coliseum on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. This will be the last regular season game for the three seniors on Mock’s squad: Edwards, Hutt, and Aubree Vick.
“It’s Kelsie, Jennie, and Aubree’s last match in Moody Coliseum,” said Mock. “We are going to miss them.”