Daniel Sipocz

It may not have been the signature win coach Steve Shondell was looking for, but a hard-fought and impressive 22-25, 12-25, 25-17, 25-22, 15-9 victory over Appalachian State will do.


Making the win, Ball State's 10th of the season, against Appalachian State (9-4) even more meaningful was how it was won. The Cardinals came from two sets down to win in five, which they last did in 2003 against No. 17 Louisville.


"I thought [Saturday's] match was a positive step toward becoming a team that can contend for the whole thing in the Mid-American Conference," Shondell said. "It's going to be wide open."


The Cardinals' story against the Mountaineers began when they lost the first six points in the second set and were never able to get anything going. The result was a lopsided 25-12 loss to fall behind by two sets.


"We weren't done with that game and wanted to go out with another win," junior middle blocker and outside hitter Jennifer Boyd said. "We were a little down because we weren't playing up to our full potential, but even with that, we really wanted to change that and take our whole shot at them."


For the third set, Shondell made a few lineup changes, including inserting junior defensive specialist Kaylee Schembra into the back court and replacing junior setter Brittany McGinnis with freshman Jacqui Seidel.


Shondell praised the mental toughness of his team in its comeback but credited the players who entered in the third set to help propel Ball State to the win.


Seidel refused to take any credit for any spark she may have provided to the offense.


"I had a lot of help from our passers. The outsides and middles were finding their shots and making my job easy," she said. "It helped playing against a team like North Carolina, who has a big block. I learned how to run an offense around that and learned how to be a more effective blocker."


Ball State was outblocked 10-1 in the first two sets. After the break, Ball State won the blocking battle 6-5.


"We've got to become a better blocking team," Shondell said. "We just couldn't get anything by their blocks in the first two sets. Once we did it made a real difference."


In its other matches at the Tar Heel Classic, Ball State fell to North Carolina on Friday night and beat Temple on Saturday morning.