WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Final road trip takes Ball State team to South Carolina
The Daily News
The team departs early this morning for Charleston, S.C., for its final non-conference tournament of the season.
On Friday, Ball State will face off against UNC-Asheville, a team that’s 7-4 and has won its last two matches.
Ball State head coach Steve Shondell said he hopes to have senior Kylee Baker back in the fold for the weekend’s three matches.
Baker missed Tuesday’s match against IUPUI with a back injury. Shondell said she received the injury during a blocking drill.
Coming down after blocking a spike in practice, Baker said her spine felt like it compacted. She went straight to the training room.
The team is hopeful Baker will be available in the College of Charleston Tournament.
Shondell was told that if he played her against IUPUI, she might not be physically able to compete this weekend.
It was all Shondell needed to hear, so he held Baker out against the Jaguars.
“We had to pick our poison,” he said. “We want her for this weekend, so hopefully these extra days will allow her to get healthy.”
Baker’s offense could be important against UNC-Asheville, which has forced its opponents into a total of 264 errors.
It’s a whopping 76 more than the Bulldogs have committed through the team’s first 11 matches.
The experience Ball State’s outside hitter brings could be the difference in the number of errors Baker’s team makes.
Seasoned veterans know how to take their game on the road and execute without making mistakes, something UNC-Asheville is good at forcing.
Without Baker, Ball State’s Alex Fuelling and Mackenzie Kitchel committed 14 errors in three sets against IUPUI, which Kitchel said she wants to clean up for the weekend.
Aside from avoiding errors, Ball State will have to watch for sophomore Christine Lakatos.
UNC-Asheville’s strongest attacker, Lakatos leads her team in kills and is second in digs. The offense will flow through her, as she’s taken nearly 200 more attack attempts than the next highest player.
Despite Lakatos offense, UNC-Asheville has struggled offensively. The team hits just .203 so far and has been out killed by nearly 40.
By shutting down Lakatos, Ball State would shut down the entire offense and have a shot to extend its win streak to seven games.
The last time Ball State won seven in a row was the start of the 2011 season, when the team began 9-0 before falling to Purdue.
They finished the regular season 23-6 and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
It wouldn’t be bad company for the 2013 team to be in.
Ball State’s match against UNC-Asheville in Charleston, S.C., will start at 4:30 p.m. Friday.