Daniel Sipocz

The sky isn't falling, but Ball State turned in its worst effort of the season in a loss Saturday at Wright State.

 

The 25-16, 23-25, 25-23, 25-20 defeat drops the Cardinals to 7-1 this season and fired up senior libero Alyssa Rio.

 

"I'm pretty disappointed about how we lost," Rio said. "I told the team this is not happening again. This is the last time this is going to happen. We want to go out there and be better than the last few years."

 

Coach Steve Shondell said his team had a sluggish week of practice, and it carried over to the floor in Dayton, Ohio. The loss is the first in Shondell's collegiate coaching career, but he is more concerned with the team learning from mistakes.

 

"I knew coming into my first year, having been with the team for only a few days in the spring, that this team would have a long way to go," Shondell said. "It's going to be a learning year for us. We still have a long way to go. Wins and losses are a part of it. It takes three or four years to build a program, not four weeks.

 

"If you were to tell me in the spring, we'd be this competitive in four weeks I would have been happy."

 

Mistakes are what proved to be costly for Ball State. The 27 errors posted by Ball State disrupted the offense and gave Wright State (4-6) the opportunity to deliver knockout blows early in the first set and late in sets three and four.

 

"Communication was a big part of our problem," freshman outside hitter Whitney Heeres said. "We just didn't communicate. We didn't play our game. It's really disappointing knowing we could have come out stronger and that we should have won this game."

 

Defenses were crucial in the see-saw battle between Ball State and Wright State. The Raiders were successful in disrupting the Cardinals' offense. The result was a season-low .180 hitting percentage, while Wright State turned in a .233 hitting percentage.

 

"Everyone had an off game. Wright State has a good defense and didn't let us have the kills," Rio said. "They kept digging the ball and are a scrappy team."

 

The backcourts put on a clinic on how to dig the ball, as each team had more than 70 digs. Rio paced Ball State with 28 digs while Jessica Woods led Wright State with 26.

 

Heeres led Ball State with 13 kills. Junior middle blocker Kelsey Brandl recorded 10 in the loss.