Abilene Christian battled back from a late fifth-set deficit only to have two errors cost them at the very end of a 3-2 defeat to regional rival Dallas Baptist Tuesday night at Moody Coliseum. The Patriots won by scores of 21-25, 25-20, 21-25, 25-18 and 18-16 in improving to 12-5 on the year, while the Wildcats fell to 7-12.
ACU led by three point near the halfway mark at 9-6, but the Patriots quickly erased the advantage with an 8-3 run that brought them to match point. From there, the Wildcats tied it twice down the stretch at 14-14 and 16-16, but couldn't maintain their momentum as Sarah Siemens' service error was promptly followed by a Rachel Riley attack error.
Riley led all players with a career and team season high 20 kills, but her error served as one of 36 for ACU on 204 attempts (.196). By comparison, Dallas Baptist committed 17 errors on 195 attempts for a .215 attack percentage.
The Patriots had three players with a double-digit kill total, including Kristin Secord, who blocked two shots and hit .484 behind 15 kills. Ashley Kay and Erika Papadeas each contributed 13 kills, while setters Tyler Bradsher and Kaycie Bird combined for 52 assists.
Siemens, who was recently named the Lone Star Conference's Co-Setter of the Week, recorded a career-high 63 assists, and added to that total, six kills, eight digs and two blocks.
Defensively, the Wildcats racked up seven blocks led by two solo efforts from freshman Corrie Reeder, while rookie libero Madison Hoover recorded the sixth-highest single match dig total in ACU history with 36, tying her with Liz Snoddy's effort from a 2006 battle vs. Tarleton State. Angie Palmer owns the school record of 39, which she set in 1995 vs. Southern Colorado.
ACU and Dallas Baptist battled through nine ties and three lead changes in game one, during which the Wildcats were paced by six kills each from Riley and freshman Jennie Loerch, who broke a 17-17 deadlock with consecutive points. The Wildcats would then extend their lead to as many as four points before the Patriots and cut the lead to two behind a kill from Kay. Riley, however, brought the serve back to ACU with yet another kill and then DBU's Markayla Benoit hit one wide to end the set in the Wildcats' favor at 25-21.
The Patriots started hot in game two and jumped out to a seven-point lead that they held right up until the end, where the Wildcats used a 5-0 run to make the score 21-19. But ACU wouldn't get any closer as Dallas Baptist scored four of the final five points, which included kills from Tadam Mergener, Kay and Secord, who delivered the clincher off an assist from Bradsher.
Game three was another tug-of-war between the two sides as it featured six lead changes and 11 ties. DBU grabbed its final lead at 20-19 on Secord's fourth kill of the set, but Reeder soon caught fire afterward and notched three of ACU's last six points, including the final two after DBU had pulled within two points at 23-21.
Reeder was one of five Wildcats with 10 or more kills along with Riley, Loerch (14), Kalynne Allen (12) and Sara Oxford (12).
ACU led by as many as three points during the early stages of game four, but the Patriots scored five-straight points to take the lead for good at 13-10, and then after the Wildcats pulled within one, coasted to the finish on a 6-1 run.
The Wildcats return to conference action this weekend with matches Friday and Saturday vs. Eastern New Mexico and West Texas A&M.
Information for this story provided by ACU Sports Information.