ACU begins its fourth season in the Southland Conference Thursday against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on the road. The Wildcats will then head to Incarnate Word Saturday, looking to improve on their 1-14 start.
TAMU-CC opened its conference play on Tuesday with a win over Sam Houston State. At 6-6 on the season the Islanders have only lost once at home this season. Notable wins for the Islanders have come against UT Rio Grande Valley twice and UT-Arlington, who ACU beat for its lone win on the season. TAMU- CC also took on nationally ranked San Diego, who was ranked 18 at the time but has risen to 7, and Wisconsin, who was ranked 2 at the time but has fallen one spot to 3.
TAMU-CC heads into the game against ACU after it put on a show offensively, where they managed to hit .461 in their last game to set a new school record. The Islanders will be led by Brittany Gilpin, who has double-digit kills in 11 straight games and has a season high of 20 kills in a game this year. The Islanders finished 31-5 last season and went undefeated in conference play with a 16-0 record.
Incarnate Word has gotten an early taste of Southland Conference competition in a Stephen F. Austin tournament and a Central Arkansas tournament. The Cardinals will boast a 4-9 record heading into the game on Saturday, as they defeated UCA and fell to SFA. UIW has also taken on SEC powerhouse Alabama and Mountain West competitor Fresno State.
The Cardinals will be led by outside hitter Autumn Lockley, who has played a big part of the offense and the defense for her team. Lockley has reached a season-high 19 kills twice this season and has had 15+ digs two times as well. The Cardinals finished 8-17 last season, while going 6-10 in conference play.
The Wildcats have had some troubles early in the season, but have had several bright spots in sophomore outside hitter Jacey Smith and freshman libero Amanda Chapa, who were both voted onto the Owls Classic All-Tournament Team last weekend.
Smith is averaging 2.94 kills per set, while Chapa is averaging 3.89 digs per set.