Blair’s Wildcats fought valiantly in their final non-conference matchups but lost all three in the TCU Tournament this past weekend.
ACU battled with 3-2 losses to both Texas State on Friday and TCU on Saturday. The Wildcats were unable to bounce back in a 3-1 loss to Louisiana on Saturday. Now the Wildcats flip the script to head into Western Athletic Conference play.
“I thought our girls played well,” Blair said. “It was the first time we actually saw them really understanding and cleaning up the game and playing the way we wanted them to. We definitely were in those games and wanted to be and I thought our girls did a really good job of pulling the weight they needed to.”
The Bobcats (8-4) took the first two sets before ACU came back to win the next two sets before losing 15-11 in the fifth set. As a team, ACU totaled 72 kills with five players racking up over ten kills. Outside hitter Ashli Edmiston, freshman from Wilsonville, Ore., shined once again with a new career-high 16 kills. Middle blocker Braden Bossier, junior from Fairfield, went on a tear for a season-high 12 kills, five aces, four blocks and four digs. Bossier moved into eight in ACU Div. I history for total career blocks with 154. Blair’s team tallied 68 assists, the most an ACU has had in a single match in the ACU Div. I era.
Against the Horned Frogs (5-6), ACU won the first two sets but dropped the final three. The Wildcats lost a close third set 28-26 before losing the final two, 25-21 and 15-8. Right outside hitter Bryley Steinhilber, sophomore from Kennedale, had her third double-double of the year with 17 kills and 12 digs. Edmiston continued her dominance with a new career-high 18 kills, Bossier had ten kills, and setter Madison Rohre, redshirt senior from Woodway, led the way with 28 assists after having 30 against Texas State.
ACU ran out of gas against the Ragin’ Cajuns (6-3) in a 3-1 loss. The Wildcats took the first set but lost the next three. Steinhilber once again led the way with 14 kills, her third straight double-digit kill match, leading to a spot on the All-Tournament team. Rohre eclipsed over 2,000 assists for her career, she now has 2,012 after the loss to Louisiana.
Now the Wildcats head to WAC play following their non-conference schedule. Blair’s first test as the Wildcats head coach in WAC play is the Sam Houston State Bearkats (3-11). In the series history, the Bearkats lead 9-4. ACU was predicted to finish 11th out of 13 with SHSU picked fourth.
“Definitely a large growth weekend for us, they saw what they’re capable of,” Blair said. “That’s what we needed going into conference play. If we can hang with a Texas State or a TCU then we can do our job in the WAC.”
The Wildcats vs Bearkats matchup begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Moody Coliseum and will be broadcast live on ESPN+.