ACU opened conference play with two road games this past weekend, finishing the road trip 0-2. The games included a 0-3 sweep versus Stephen F. Austin on Thursday, another 0-3 sweep versus Sam Houston State on Saturday.
The match-up versus Stephen F. Austin, though opening the weekend on the losing end, was still a very competitive matchup. The first set was a very close battle highlighted with several scoring runs with the Wildcats falling short late 25-21.
The second set was the Wildcat’s worst scoring effort of the day only building 13 points to the Ladyjacks 25. This was fronted by a minuscule .051 hitting percentage, and 6 errors from the Wildcats.
In the final set the Wildcats found their groove once again, but still were not a match for the Ladyjack’s high scoring offense losing 25-21. Though the loss the Wildcats had outkilled the Ladyjacks 19-11 and had a higher .400 hitting percentage.
This continued a four-game losing streak for the Wildcats versus Stephen F. Austin. The Ladyjacks, who was selected first in the WAC Southwest division poll, will face the Wildcats again on Nov. 6.
Breanna Box, a junior middle blocker from Wichita Falls, continued her offensive excellence with a .579 hitting percentage and team-leading 12 kills. Box is currently fourth in the WAC in hitting percentage.
The Wildcats continued their road trip Saturday versus Sam Houston State, who entering the game had a four-game winning streak versus the Wildcats. This would be the first time the two would face each other this season, with another matchup on Nov. 4 in Abilene.
The first set was closely contested early but a Bearkats 6-0 scoring run helped lead the win to a 25-18 win. Both teams managed a low hitting percentage of just .139 and .225 respectfully.
The second set was a dominant 25-16 Bearkat win, emphasized by several small scoring runs. In the set, the Wildcats had eight fewer kills than Sam Houston State but managed fewer errors than the Bearkats.
The final set was more contested where in which the Wildcats found themselves leading 23-18 late. The game fell out of hand thanks to a 7-0 scoring run from the Bearkats to win the set and match.
“Over the last two matches our service pressure and our ability to be in system with our first touch got better and better,” said head coach Angela Mooney. “We hope to build on those two things leading up to UTRGV as they are two of the most, if not most important components to winning matches against quality opponents.”
One standout performer versus Sam Houston was freshman outside and right-side hitter Bryley Steinhilber from Kennedale. Steinhilber hit a career-high .318 versus the Bearkats and lead the Wildcats with 8 kills.
“She passed well, played good defense, and her .318 hitting percentage was really impressive,” said coach Mooney. “When we see our younger players find this sort of success, it is my hope they take confidence to know they have the ability to play that way night in and night out.”
The Wildcats will continue their season with two matches at home versus UT Rio Grande Valley on Oct. 7 at 6 p.m. and Lamar on Oct. 9. at 1 p.m. Both games will be at the Teague Special Events Center and will stream on ESPN+.