Daniel Sipocz

Sometimes unlikely combinations can be the best thing.

Ball State University middle blocker Kelsey Brandl is the epitome of an unlikely combination. Best known for her blasting kills on the court, the 6-foot-4-inch Brandl has more than meets the eye.

"I'm a complete computer nerd," Brandl said. "I enjoy decoding things. I'm always the first one to be called when someone has a computer problem."

While Brandl is into killing on the court, she isn't into the fighting and killing of the popular game "World of Warcraft." Instead she prefers a game called "Second Life."

"I found out that Kelsey was into virtual gaming the first week we were back," setter Andrea Felton said. "Due to a problem with the lease for my place I was homeless and was fortunate enough to stay with Kelsey. She brought out a game and we found out that we were both into virtual gaming."

The connection between Felton and Brandl has been a strong one that goes beyond just gaming.

"I'm really glad she came to Ball State," Felton said. "No one on the team played a game like those so I have someone to relate to. We can all sort of pair up if we want to. But Kelsey and I can talk about anything. Family, volleyball homework, whatever is going on."

Another part of Brandl's personality is her fondness of tattoos. She already has one and plans on getting another.

"My mom has one and my brother has a ton of them," the sophomore said. "They don't even come close to hurting. They are addictive though. Once you get one, you want another. I've already got another one picked out to get. [Teammate] Lauren [Schlaker] designed it and drew it for me."

Even what fuels the former top-25 recruit is surprising.

"I love cereal. I'll eat almost any cereal," Brandl said. "Right now I have five boxes in my apartment: two different types of Special K, Lucky Charms, Raisin Bran and Peanut Butter Captain Crunch."

On the court, Brandl has been a force. It took a few weeks for the University of Cincinnati transfer to adjust, but in Mid-American Conference action she's come out strong. Two weeks ago, Brandl posted a career-high 20 kills, five aces, four blocks and five digs.

"We can't ask any more of Kelsey," coach Dave Boos said. "She's developed into an All-MAC player."

Even more impressive than Brandl's performance is the fact that she sat out all workouts in the summer due to shoulder surgery.

"It was a little scary having surgery," she said. "You just don't know if things are going to be the same and if you're going to be able to hit the same kind of crazy shots you used to be able to. Things have worked out pretty good. Dave and I actually joke about still being out of shape since I had eight months off."