WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Ball State gears up for packed weekend schedule
The Daily News
It’s even tougher when a team has to play four matches in 24 hours.
Ball State volleyball begins its Iowa Tournament on Friday with a match against Western Illinois, and it will end with a match against Illinois-Chicago 24 hours later.
Head coach Steve Shondell believes his team struggled in the final match during the first weekend because of fatigue.
He hopes depth will be the key in staying rested over the slate of games.
“I’ve got 12 potential starters, so everyone has to make sure they’re ready to take on a role,” Shondell said. “It’s going to take a toll on our players.”
Senior setter Jacqui Seidel knows how to condition her body to be ready for the physical toll these games will put on her.
“All the preparation came from our spring and summer workouts; there’s not much we can do at this point,” Seidel said. “We have to play smart so we’re saving our legs and not letting sets stretch to five sets.”
Five sets may not be necessary for Ball State against Western Illinois. The two teams met last Saturday during the Minnesota Tournament, and Ball State walked away with a decisive 3-0-match win.
Even with the victory, Shondell doesn’t want his players underestimating Western Illinois.
The Leathernecks are just 3-5 after sweeping their home opener, and are led by Anna Miller and Samantha Fournier. The duo has racked up 107 and 105 kills; no one else has more than 42.
Having success against Western Illinois combined with the team’s sparse weapons is the perfect storm for them to be overlooked by Ball State.
“We know our opponent and what they’re going to do,” Shondell said. “I’m sure Western Illinois will be waiting for us after the loss we dealt them last time.”
In 2010, Ball State knocked off Toledo 3-0, winning each set by a minimum of six points.
Just eight days later, the Rockets revenged the loss in the Mid-American-Conference Tournament by beating the Cardinals 3-0, showing how fast the turnaround can be.
Shondell remembers the loss, but doesn’t expect his players to be overconfident against Western Illinois just because they defeated the team a few days ago.
At just 4-3, the Cardinals don’t have room to be arrogant, especially against a Leatherbacks team playing with a chip on its shoulder after its loss over the weekend.
Seidel knows her team can’t underestimate Western Illinois but understands the need to conserve energy considering the four-match trial.
“We’ll have to play smart volleyball,” Seidel said. “Putting ourselves in a situation to win early, taking care of the ball and don’t let the rallies go longer then they should.”
By finishing teams off in three or four sets, Ball State could prevent fatigue from building up and allow the team to play with more energy in its final match against Illinois-Chicago.
Ball State begins its weekend slate at Iowa against Western Illinois at 3 p.m.