NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)
THE FIRST SERVE
• For only the fourth time in program history, the Stephen F. Austin volleyball team (12-7, 5-1 Southland) makes a road trip to Abilene Christian (5-17, 4-3 Southland) to face the Wildcats and finish off a stretch of three straight league matches away from Nacogdoches. SFA will try to retain their spot as one of the league's top two teams when first serve occurs at 6:30 p.m. in Moody Coliseum.
• Following last Saturday's 3-1 win at Incarnate Word, the Ladyjacks seek to string together consecutive road wins for the first time in 2016. SFA will try and accomplish that goal against an Abilene Christian squad that is winless in its five all-time matchups against the Ladyjacks with Debbie Humphreys as head coach. The only win ACU has against Stephen F. Austin came on September 16, 1983.
• As she continues to scale the Ladyjacks' all-time blocking charts, senior Justice Walker can also become the latest entrant into SFA's 1,000 career kills club by firing in 17 more winners. This season, Walker has added 139 kills on the strength of the third-best hitting percentage (.304) in the Southland Conference to her total of 844 for 983 kills. Additionally, Walker has finished with 11 or more kills in three of SFA's six conference matches this season.
• Those unable to make the journey to Abilene can follow each and every point of the Southland Conference showdown between the Ladyjacks and Wildcats via live statistical coverage and a live video feed - both of which have been provided by the Abilene Christian office of athletic media relations. The links to those service are available on the official website of Stephen F. Austin athletics - SFAJacks.com.
• Once they hit the court against the Ladyjacks on Thursday evening, the Wildcats will be taking part in just their fourth home match of 2016. In all of its previous 2016 Moody Coliseum tilts, however, Abilene Christian has been victorious in either four or five sets. Through the last two seasons, ACU has racked up a 9-2 record in their home facility with one of those setbacks coming against the Ladyjacks.
• Each of the three Southland Conference losses the Wildcats have suffered this season have come in three sets and eight of those nine sets have been decided by four or fewer points. Abilene Christian is coming off a 3-0 setback at Houston Baptist on Monday night.
• The Wildcats may sit 13th out of 13 SLC teams in kills per set (10.43), but that hasn't been because of the efforts of Jacey Smith. She has generated 221 of ACU's 834 total kills (26.5-percent) and is one of three Wildcats who have 18 or more service aces to their credit.
• What they lack in eye-popping offensive numbers, the Wildcats make up for in front row defense. On the strength of five players who have totaled 40 or more blocks this season, ACU ranks second in the Southland Conference with a blocks per set average of 2.40. ACU's 192 total blocks represent the most of any league squad by 17.5 and pacing things in that department are Lexi Mercier (1.08 blocks/set) and Lauren Walker (1.15 blocks/set). Among all SLC players, Walker ranks third in blocks per set while Mercier sits in fifth.
• Kendall Bosse poses the main threat at the service line for ACU with her team-best 23 aces (0.30 per set) and the setter has totaled 539 assists in 2016 - good for a per-set average of 7.09.
• From the libero position, Amanda Chapa ranks in the upper half of the league with her team-leading 4.40 digs per set. In Southland Conference matches, her digs per set average of 5.16 is the second-best in the 13-team league.