Andrew Mishler

Steve Shondell took over Ball State's women's volleyball program in April 2010 with high aspirations for his team.

Even though he was a first-year coach who was hired after Dave Boos resigned, Shondell was taking over a squad full of talent.

All the Cardinals needed was a strong coach to lead them to victory.

Shondell didn't disappoint.

Ball State went 24-5 and 14-3 in the Mid-American Conference in his first season as a college coach, ultimately losing to Toledo in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament.

While the Cardinals' postseason goals were cut short in November, Shondell still overcame adversity and grabbed success early in his Ball State career.

He led the Cardinals to their first 20-win season in five years and turned his team into a crunch-time performer. Ball State  went 7-1 in five-set matches.

"This season has been everything and more than I could have dreamed of," Shondell said in October. "The girls have done everything I've ever asked of them. It's been great to work with them."

Shondell also has a team around him that has the same goals as him: forming a tradition of excellence at Ball State.

"The team didn't have a winning season in a while before this year, so I can't relate to having losing seasons," sophomore defensive specialist Catie Fredrich said last season. "This is a hungry team as a result. We just want to keep going and build a tradition again."

Shondell will likely face another wave of obstacles as he enters his second year as Ball State coach.

He'll have to hit the recruiting trail to find the pieces to replace the four seniors in his 2010 lineup, including Collegiate Volleyball Update Libero of the Year Alyssa Rio.

But as Shondell proved in 2010, he's not one to shy away from a challenge.