WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Ball State sweeps Tennessee State in home opener
Cardinals improve to 4-0
First set domination eliminated any thought of worry, no matter how little, of an unsuccessful home opener for the Ball State women's volleyball team.
In front of a record 1,744 fans, Ball State made a statement early against Tennessee State. The Cardinals fed off the energy of the record crowd en route to a 25-5 victory. Ball State used the momentum to sweep the match and remain undefeated.
"It was really nerve racking at first. You come in and you're just in awe," freshman outside hitter Kylee Baker said. "It was just amazing and great to feel the energy.
Baker led the offense with 12 kills on a night where the story was the loud and energetic crowd and balance offensively. Charde' Phillips was second on the team with seven kills while middle blockers Kelsey Brandl and Jennifer Boyd added six each.
"We've got to have more players step up," Ball State coach Steve Shondell said. "Kylee had a great match tonight, but Kelsey played well. We just didn't get her the ball very much. She only had nine swings at 66 percent so we've got to figure out a way to get her the ball a little more."
After Tennessee State settled down, Ball State had to deal with an aggressive serving game and scrappier defense. The result was tougher second and third sets.
"Their serving picked up a ton in the second and third game," Brandl said. "It was so much stronger. Our passers said they were serving bullets. So they dealt with it pretty well. That little thing threw us off."
The Cardinal defense held strong all match. Senior libero Alyssa Rio recorded 14 digs while the Tigers were held to negative hitting percentages in all three sets.
Ball State returns to the floor Saturday at noon against Robert Morris and at 7 p.m, against Oakland.
For more on the Active Ankle Challenge read Monday's edition of The Ball State Daily News.