The Wildcats did something Saturday that had not been accomplished in over seven years. The team beat No. 8 West Texas A&M University by an astounding 3-0 mark.
Freshman Jennie Loerch still has trouble finding words to describe the match.
“I can’t even explain it,” she said. “It’s like we won a championship or something. The best part was the entire team clicked. We were crying at the end and I’m still high off that win.”
It was a win head coach Kellen Mock had been waiting for since she took over the reigns at ACU. Mock was winless against the Lady Buffs before Saturday and had not won a set against them since 2009. The ‘Cats last victory against WT was on Nov. 3 of 2005.
“That was the best I’ve seen our team play mentally from start to finish,” Mock said. “The team that played here in Moody on Saturday was the team I thought we’d have all season long. They are so talented.”
“That could’ve been our last meeting with WT, so to finally get that win is great,” she said. “I was in tears by the end of the match.”
The team (9-12, 5-6 Lone Star Conference) won the three sets by scores of 25-17, 25-22 and 28-26. WTAMU is the defending six-time LSC champions.
The victory capped a weekend where the Wildcats went 2-0 in Moody Coliseum. The squad has played well the past two weeks losing only one game in a six-game homestand. The other win over the weekend was against Eastern New Mexico University on Friday, 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-19).
The ‘Cats had a much tougher time in sets two and three against West Texas than in set one. ACU jumped out to a 9-1 lead in game two, but the Lady Buffs stomped back to pull within one point, 11-10.
“We were so frustrated at that point,” Mock said. “WT went as hard as they could when they were down and we had to learn how to deal with that.”
WT would later grab their first lead of the match, 20-19, after scoring five consecutive points. Sophomore Sara Oxford delivered a clutch kill to steal the lead back. Outside hitter Rachel Riley shut the door on the set by smacking three kills during the team’s final possessions.
WTAMU built a 5-1 lead in game three. After falling behind 20-17, the Wildcats made a late surge after another kill by Riley and a service ace by freshman Sarah Siemens.
The Lady Buffs would eventually tie the score at 21-21. ACU reached match point several times during the next stretch of points however, West Texas A&M would not give up the fight.
Loerch recorded her 15th kill to give the team the lead, 26-25. She had a chance to end the match on her serve the very next play, but hit the ball into the net for an error. Fortunately, West Texas also committed an error on their serve which gave the ‘Cats possession again.
This time, the team made sure they did not give WT anymore chances for a comeback. Oxford smashed the match-winning point and the celebration began.
“If we would’ve lost that game because of that, I’d have been in a depression forever,” Loerch said.
“From 20-17 to the end of the match was the hardest the girls have fought all year,” Mock said.
Loerch finished the match with 15 kills while Siemens had 43 assists. Madison Hoover recorded 18 digs and Corrie Reeder had five of the team’s eight blocks.
In the Eastern match, Oxford was the leader in kills (14) and points (17). ACU dominated the Zias with a season-high .400 attacking percentage and out-blocked them, 7-0.
The ‘Cats hit the road this Friday and Saturday when they travel to Angelo State University and Tarleton State University.