Following football’s Homecoming win on Saturday, ACU (5-14, 2-5) bounced back with a 3-2 thriller over Grand Canyon (10-8, 4-3) after losing 3-1 to California Baptist (8-10, 3-4) on Thursday.
Head coach Alisa Blair’s Wildcats got back to winning ways on Saturday after a 1,200 mile trip home from Riverside, California on Thursday. After the win over the Antelopes, the Wildcats are 5-14 overall and 2-5 in the Western Athletic Conference. Blair said her team did not make it back to Abilene until 3 p.m. on Friday and had to turn things around quick before taking on GCU at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
“Something we’ve been talking about a lot is just resetting our minds and making sure that we’re going one point at a time, one execution of a skill at a time,” Blair said. “I thought our girls did a really good job of that tonight. I thought we were very engaged. We were present where our feet were most of the time. I thought our girls responded well.”
ACU started hot with a 25-17 first set win but dropped the next three to lose 3-1 on Thursday in Riverside. The Lancers took leads early in sets two and three to lead 2-1 before a tight 26-24 CBU win in set four. Outside hitter Bryley Steinhilber, sophomore from Kennedale, led her Wildcats with 18 kills on a .361 hitting percentage. Outside hitter Ashli Edmiston, freshman from Wilsonville, Oregon, had her fifth double-double with 15 kills and 14 digs. Three Wildcats hit over. 300 and four tallied nine or more digs.
Blair’s Wildcats got back to winning ways in Moody with a 3-2 win over GCU on Saturday. Back to back 25-22 wins gave ACU a chance to sweep in set three before losing the next two sets 25-23, 25-22. GCU’s momentum swing was not enough as the Wildcats took home the fifth set win 15-9. Edmiston extended her dominance as well with 14 kills and a season-high 18 digs. The surprise performance of the night came from libero Andie Sheppard, redshirt sophomore from Midland, who racked up 15 digs in her second appearance at libero. Continuing her hot streak was Steinhilber who recorded 17 kills and a career-high 21 digs.
“We love playing at Moody,” Steinhilber said. “We’re super thankful for our fans. It just creates a great atmosphere and just gives a really fun place to play in. We kind of talked about defending Moody at the beginning of the year, and I think we did that tonight.”
Following the weekend, ACU heads to the University of Texas-Arlington Mavericks on Thursday before coming home to face the Tarleton State Texans on Saturday. The Wildcats are 12th in the WAC while the Mavericks and Texans are 5th and 11th respectively. Blair said her team is ready to face new foes once again this year.
“New team, new day, everything’s new,” Blair said. “We just have to take everything one day at a time and make sure that we are progressing forward. In the locker room, we talked about what causes tension and understanding. If we alleviate those little tension spots, then we can be the best team that we know we are capable of being. I think our girls did a really good job of that tonight. Moving forward, we’ll just keep reminding them of those little things.”
The Wildcats and Mavericks begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday at College Park Center in Arlington. The Wildcats and Texans start at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Moody and will be streamed live on ESPN+.