ACU’s first volleyball season in the Southland Conference has come to a close. They finished the season with a 6-18 record and a 2-12 conference record. The team battled through a tough first year schedule but kept pace with their new opponents in Div I.
The season included many highlights and it started with a solid opening tournament in Arlington. The Wildcats took two out of three at the tourney beating two Div. I opponents: Grambling State and Louisiana Tech.
The next big highlight occurred during the home opener in Moody Coliseum, with 1,300 rowdy fans watching as the Wildcats took down West Texas opponent Texas Tech. This marked the first major opponent taken down in Div. I for the Wildcats.
ACU would then struggle through the first couple of Southland games but grabbed their first Southland victory against Nicholls State. The team did struggle for the majority of the season, but they competed well against some of the top Div. I competition in their first year.
“I am pleased with how the team competed, but I am disappointed with how many losses we suffered,” coach Kellen Mock said. “We have to get tougher, more physical and the offense has to score more points.”
The individual leaders for the Wildcats came mostly from the younger group of players. Sophomore outside hitter Jennifer Loerch led the team in kills on the season with 275, averaging 3.16 kills per set. Sophomore libero Madison Hoover led the team in digs with 413, which came out to 4.64 digs per set.
Freshman middle blocker Lexi Mercier led the team in blocks this year with 128. Mercier’s great statistical season led to her being named to the Southland Honorable Mention Team. The season was a great feat for the freshman and ACU as it was their first year in a new conference.
The Wildcats will lose two seniors after this season: Madelyn Robinett and Caley Johnson. The two defensive specialists had great seasons. Johnson was second on the team in digs and Robinett led the team in serve aces with 21.
Having a team with this much experience at such a young age should help the ‘Cats to compete better in future Southland seasons.
“There were a lot of surprises and everything was new, but next year will be more familiar,” Robinett said. “I am excited to see the older girls step into leadership roles and I think they will do really well.”