Daniel Sipocz

Ball State could have been caught looking ahead to their match with Oakland on Saturday night at Worthen Arena by Robert Morris. This was such a concern that first-year coach Steve Shondell went over game tape from Friday's Robert Morris match until 2 a.m.

The potential trap game didn't grab Ball State, however. In a hard-fought match, Ball State defeated Robert Morris 3-0.

"I was impressed with Robert Morris in their loss," Shondell said. "I saw athleticism and potential. They got off to a slow start and it snowballed on them against Oakland."

The Ball State coaching staff held concerns about coming out flat against a fired-up Robert Morris team with something to prove. Those concerns turned out to be unfounded, but the Cardinals were not as sharp in their passing game or attacking.

"They're a pretty scrappy team," junior middle blocker Jennifer Boyd said. "They were able to keep some stuff up that we were normally able to put down. The coaches told us we needed to be ready for Robert Morris because they have nothing to lose and give everything they have."

Boyd led the Cardinals offensively by posting 12 kills Saturday afternoon. Junior middle blocker Kelsey Brandl added 11 kills while freshman middle blocker Mindy Marx chipped in eight kills. Freshman Kylee Baker recorded seven kills and freshman Whitney Heeres finished with six kills.

Defensively, Ball State came away with 49 digs. Senior libero Alyssa Rio notched 18 to lead the Cardinals. Baker recorded nine while freshman defensive specialist Catie Fredrich posted six digs.

"I thought last night we struggled a bit with ball control," Shondell said. "Today we responded and passed the ball much, much better to allow us to run our offense better than the latter stages of the last game."

With the win, Ball State improves to 5-0 on the season and plays for the Active Ankle Challenge championship against Oakland at 7:30 p.m.

"We haven't a 5-0 start since I've been here," Boyd said. "Our seniors have told us that we've never really had a something and zero start so it's really great to have that and bring that back to Ball State."