The ACU volleyball team finished up their non-conference season this past weekend when they fell to Montana (3-1), University of Chicago-Illinois (3-1) and Denver (3-0). Although the Wildcats fought all three teams point for point, they were unable to avoid moving to 0-13.
Against Montana, the Wildcats started off slow, but found a rhythm in the latter parts of the match before falling in four sets.
After losing the first set 25-19, ACU came out and grabbed a 24-23 lead and were poised to win the second set, but consecutive kills gave the Grizzlies a lead they didn’t give up. The Wildcats continued to play well in the third set and eventually won 25-22 after freshman Lauren Walker provided three of her team high 14 kills late in the set. However, Montana came back with an impressive game of its own to take the set 25-22 and the match 3-1.
Following Walker’s 14 kills was senior Jennie Loerch with 12 and freshman Jacey Smith with eight. Senior Sarah Siemens contributed a double-double to the effort with 38 assists and 14 digs, while junior Lexi Mercier recorded seven blocks and senior Madison Hoover converted 13 digs.
On Saturday, ACU began its day/night doubleheader with a matchup against UIC, but lost again in four sets.
Following two fairly close sets to start the match, the Wildcats rode the strength of Loerch and the freshman trio of Walker, Smith, and Kendall Bosse to a 25-19 victory in the third set. The Wildcats carried the momentum into the fourth game jumping out to an 18-15 lead, but couldn’t convert in the later stages of the game, losing 26-24.
Hoover recorded 15 digs in the match, followed by Loerch with 12 digs and 12 kills giving her a double-double for the match. Siemens also contributed a double-double with 33 assists and 10 digs.
The final game of the weekend and the non-conference season was a tough match against Denver, as ACU fell in straight sets 25-10, 25-19 and 25-11. Denver controlled the majority of the match and played close to perfect only committing 10 errors to ACU’s 30.
“I think that we have proven we can score points and go toe to toe with some really tough competition at a very high level,” coach Jason Bibler said. “I think we know what we are good at and where some of our biggest deficiencies are as well. I think that puts us into a good place with conference starting next week.”
With non-conference season coming to a close the Wildcats now turn their attention to their first Southland Conference match against Central Arkansas Sept.24. ACU will then, after 14 road games to start their season, finally play in Moody Coliseum Oct. 1 against Northwestern State.