ACU VB takes down SFA in Southland tourney

November 17th, 2017 - The Wildcats become the first No. 8 seed to knock off the top seed in the Southland Conference Volleyball Tournament
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – For the first time in Southland Conference history, the No. 8 seed took down the No. 1 seed in the quarterfinals as Abilene Christian defeated the regular season champions, Stephen F. Austin, in a five-set thriller (16-25, 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 15-12) to begin the tournament in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The tournament switched to an eight-team, single elimination contest in 2005.
The win is the Wildcats first Southland tournament win, claiming the victory in their first year eligible for postseason since transitioning to Division I. It’s also the first time a No. 1 vs. No 8 match has ever gone to five sets.
ACU’s Lorin McNeil led the Wildcats on the attack with 14 kills on 26 attempts, hitting .462 for the match. Jacey Smith and Katelyn Mueller added 12 and 11 kills, respectively. The Ladyjacks saw three players end the match in double figures with Makenzee Hanna leading the team with 14 kills and Haley Coleman and Danae Daron each finishing with 13.
The Wildcats now await the winner of No. 4 Houston Baptist vs. No. 5 Northwestern State in the first semifinal Saturday at 11 a.m. on the Southland Digital Network.
Set One
SFA’s Makenzee Hanna fired off four kills on five attempts to take the first set for her side, 25-16. The Ladyjack defense produced 16 digs, four blocks and held the Wildcats to a .029 hitting percentage. Jacey Smith and Lorin McNeil led the ACU offense with three kills each.
Set Two
After regaining the lead at 12-11 in an early back-and-forth battle, ACU kept a short lead the rest of the way to earn a 25-21 win and even the match at one set apiece. The Wildcats improved their attack from the first set, hitting .238 behind Lauren Walker’s four kills. McNeil added another three kills to her stat sheet. SFA’s Danae Daron tallied four kills on nine attempts.
Set Three
ACU took its first match lead in a Southland Tournament behind a .351 hitting percentage en route to a 25-22 victory in the third set. With the match tied at 22 apiece, the Wildcats rallied off the last three points to take the 2-1 advantage heading into the fourth. McNeil and Smith both had five kills to up their totals to 11 and nine, respectively. The ACU front row blocked nine attacks; the Wildcats had only three blocks heading into the set. The Ladyjacks saw Hanna and Daron add another four kills each.
Set Four
Down 14-9, SFA scored six straight points to take the 16-14 lead before taking the set 25-22 and forcing a fifth. The Ladyjacks combined for 15 kills with Corin Evans leading the way with five. Coleman and Daron added three each. The SFA defense held ACU to a .054 hitting percentage with Smith getting just one kill on 13 attempts in the set, and McNeil earning just one kill as well.
Set Five
Mueller, Smith, setter Kendall Bosse and McNeil each tallied a pair of kills to lead the Wildcats to a 15-12 fifth set win. ACU hit .208 in the final set and kept the Ladyjacks to a .125 clip. After SFA jumped to a 3-2, ACU went on a 6-2 run to go up 8-5 at the switch. The Wildcats led 11-7 before the Ladyjacks called a timeout. Down 14-10, SFA fought off two match points before a service error on Morgan Hinds ended the match. 

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