The ACU volleyball team dropped their sixth Southland Conference game against Sam Houston State Saturday afternoon in three matches (30-28, 29-27 and 25-20).
The Wildcats now stand 0-6 in conference play while the Bearkats improved their record to 4-1.
“We faltered late in first two sets and weren’t able finish when we had set point on multiple occasions,” said Jason Bibler, head coach. “We just gave Sam Houston too many opportunities to tie it back up.”
The first set was hard-fought on both ends, featuring 21 ties and 17 lead changes. ACU had set point twice (27-26 and 28-27), but ultimately could not handle the Bearkats’ offense. Sam Houston tied the score both times and eventually clinched the win.
Sam Houston’s offense was led by Deveney Wells-Gibson, senior outside hitter from San Antonio, with 19 kills. Jordyn Vaughn, freshman outside hitter from Huntsville, and Carling Urben, junior middle blocker from Salado, recorded nine kills each.
The Bearkats also had nine service aces throughout the match.
ACU had a strong outing for Set 2 with three set points and even as much as a three-point lead (22-19). The Wildcats had the lead at 24-22 on a kill from Jennie Loerch, junior outside hitter from Georgetown, but were unable to finish from there.
The Bearkats answered with consecutive points from Wells-Gibson and Shelby Genung, sophomore middle blocker from Austin, that tied the set at 24.
The Wildcats regained the lead for the last time at 27-26 on a kill from sophomore middle blocker from Centennial, Lexi Mercier, until the Bearkats scored three points in a row to claim the win.
“We’re struggling with the same thing, performing in clutch situations,” Loerch said.
The Bearkats ran away with the third set as the Wildcats never had the lead. Sam Houston jumped out to leads of 9-3 and 22-10 before the Wildcats made some late noise with an 8-1 run to cut their deficit to five points.
ACU outblocked the Bearkats 8.0 to 3.0, half of which came late in the third set as the Wildcats battled against a 12-point deficit. Mercier recorded three blocks while Corinne Grandcolas, freshman outside hitter from Austin, had four block assists.
The Wildcats hit .157 as a team, led by Loerch with 11 kills.
“I know it sounds clichÃ©, but we really are better than these teams,” Loerch said. “We just need to focus on scoring points in pivotal moments.”