The Wildcats wrapped up the Wildcat Classic tournament Saturday, losing to UW-Green Bay Phoenix 3-0, then defeating the Texas Southern Tigers 3-0, causing ACU to go 1-2 in tournament play this weekend.
The Wildcats opened tournament play Friday facing the University of New Mexico Lobos, where they lost 3-0. In that match, Jada Birkel, a junior outside and right-side hitter from Austin and transfer student from the University of Memphis, led the team in hitting percentage and tied for the team lead in kills.
The second matchup of the tournament for the Wildcats was versus Green Bay. Both teams came out swinging in the first set, with Green Bay mounting a late comeback, winning 26-24.
The Wildcats and Green Bay’s second set was another close battle between the two teams going back in forth. Green Bay found a turning point by going on an 11-2 run that led to a 25-20 win.
Going into the third set Green Bay maintained their momentum having consistent play while once again holding off ACU 25-20 to win the match. In this match, the Wildcats managed a hitting percentage of just .083, including a hitting percentage of -0.028 in the second set.
Jada Birkel once again played a consistent game, leading the Wildcats in hitting percentage with a .350. Going into Saturday night versus Texas Southern, the match versus Green Bay would be the third in a row for the Wildcats dating back to the matchup versus Texas Tech on Aug. 31.
The Wildcats opened the first set versus Texas Southern going 6-1, leading to a dominant Wildcat victory of 25-14. This set was highlighted by the Wildcats holding Texas Southern to a minuscule .053 hitting percentage.
The Tigers won the first point of what would come to be a very competitive second set, but several scoring runs helped the Wildcats pull away for a 25-19 set victory. In this set, the Wildcats managed an outstanding .407 hitting percentage.
The final set began similar to the other sets with a close back in forth, but late scoring runs from the Wildcats won them the set 25-17. This would snap the three-game losing street that had befallen the Wildcats.
A notable performance for the Wildcats came from sophomore middle blocker Braden Bossier from Fairfield. Bossier led the Wildcats in three offensive categories, including a career-high .722 hitting percentage.
“Something we talked about this morning is no matter what happened in the last two matches yesterday or this morning, that we need to refocus,” said head coach Angela Mooney. “We would need to reset, and we needed to end our tournament and our day on a high note as we lead into north Texas next weekend, and I think we did just that. Texas Southern was a team that worked really hard in a scramble; they have some really nice players that do some nice things, and I think that we were able to keep those few players from doing their best things, and so we were able to get that three-set sweep.”
The Wildcats will continue their season this weekend in the North Texas Tournament. Facing Montana State Sept. 10 at 1 p.m., then Jackson State at 4:30 p.m. and wrapping up the tournament Sept. 11 at 1:30 p.m. versus the University of North Texas.