Andrew Mishler

Coach Steve Shondell expected to redshirt all four of Ball State's freshmen prior to beginning preseason practices.

In only two weeks, Kelly Hopkins has given him reasons to think otherwise.

Hopkins is in line to play off the bench this season after impressing the coaching staff in practice.

"Really, the player who has blocked as many balls as anyone on our roster [this preseason] has been Kelly," Shondell said.

Hopkins came to Ball State this year with a notable list of accolades. She was named the Most Valuable Player at Kokomo her senior season and was also named to the First Team All-North Central Conference.

With senior Kelsey Brandl, sophomore Mindy Marx and senior Jennifer Boyd standing in front of her on the depth chart at middle blocker, Hopkins still has a ways to go.

"She's in that middle mix, but she's just a younger [player]," Shondell said. "We've got three pretty experienced players in the middle."

But Shondell said that doesn't mean she hasn't shown him enough to earn playing time this season.

"She's proven that she can give us some help as a freshman."

While Hopkins prepares for her debut as a Ball State volleyball player, sophomore right side hitter Lauren Grant, who transferred from Cincinnati this season, will have to push her's back.

Grant will be out 1-2 weeks after suffering an abdominal injury prior to Sunday's Red and White scrimmage.

It's a significant setback for a player Shondell had high expectations for at the start of preseason practices.

"That kind of got it off to a tough start, losing a player who had a really good preseason," Shondell said. "I had to adjust my lineups a bit because of her loss."

Shondell said he hasn't decided whether to redshirt Grant this year following her injury.

Walk-on freshman Jaclyn Fullove will join Hopkins on Ball State's active roster for the season. Freshmen Marquita Marshall and Hayley Benson will be redshirted.