Despite Nicholls junior Heidi Carpenter claiming her sixth double-double of the season, the Colonels volleyball team dropped a four-set decision, 23-25, 25-11, 25-22, 25-15, to Abilene Christian University at Stopher Gym on Saturday in Southland Conference action.

Carpenter chipped in 29 assists and 13 digs. Freshman Katie Jones led the Colonels (3-19 overall, 1-8 in the SLC) offensively with 15 kills, followed by sophomore Kimberly Iwunze with nine. Junior libero Emily Venable totaled a match-high 18 digs.

The Colonels scored the match’s first point on a kill by freshman Aaliyah Burras and took a two-point lead shortly after on a kill by senior Brieanna Hill.

The Wildcats (9-10 overall, 6-1 in the SLC) grabbed their first point on a kill by Kennedy Shelstead, but Nicholls later managed a five-point run, including two kills by Jones and an ace by senior Jade Piper, to widen its lead to 8-2.

The team posted its highest lead of the first set at 16-6 before ACU tied it at 23-23 with the help of five kills by Jacey Smith and several attack errors by the Colonels. Nicholls pulled through and won the first set 25-23, fronted by Hill’s five kills.

While Nicholls grabbed the first point of the second set on a kill by Jones, the Wildcats picked up six straight with the help of five Colonels attack errors. Nicholls halted their run with a dig from Jones, but the Wildcats managed to bring their lead to 22-9. ACU won the second set 25-11 despite five kills from Jones.

Nicholls kept the third set close with kills from Jones and Carpenter, tying it up at 11-11. The Wildcats began to pull away with a five-point lead later in the frame, but the Colonels managed a four-point run, featuring kills by Hill and Iwunze and an ace by Burras, to bring the score to a one-point difference. The Wildcats went on to win the set 25-22 with the help of seven Jacey Smith kills.

The Wildcats grabbed three straight points to start the deciding set before the Colonels picked up two from an attack error by ACU and an ace from Burras. The Wildcats put together an eight-point scoring barrage to increase their advantage to 11-2.

Nicholls grabbed four more points on kills from Iwunze and Carpenter and a pair of attack errors by ACU to bring the score to 14-7, but ACU concocted a four-point run shortly after. The Colonels responded with their own five-point rally with kills from Burras, Hill and freshman Emily Gauthreaux and an ace from freshman Kylie Lockhart. ACU maintained its lead, though, winning the set 25-14.

Smith spearheaded the Wildcats with 17 kills. Lauren Walker and Katelyn Mueller also accumulated double figures with 12 and 10, respectively. ACU held a 12.0-3.0 advantage in blocks.

The Colonels’ next match will take place on the road against Central Arkansas on Thursday. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m.