VOLLEYBALL: Fuelling leads Ball State to sweep
The Daily News
The two collapsed onto each other and while Kylee Baker finished off the point, Fuelling and Vasalakis tried to compose themselves, seeing as they were laughing.
They had grins on their faces that could be seen from the upper rows of Worthen Arena.
It was that kind of match for Fuelling.
Ball State swept Buffalo 25-18, 25-19 and 25-15, fueled by an impressive night from the transfer outside hitter.
The top-ranked team in the Mid-American Conference, Buffalo did its best to slow down Fuelling, but to no avail.
“She played as well as I’ve ever seen her play,” Ball State head coach Steve Shondell said. “Defensively and offensively she was all over the place, putting shots down everywhere.”
Fuelling finished with a team-high 14 kills and hit .481 percent, not allowing Buffalo’s defense to look comfortable.
Buffalo countered with Amber Hatchett, who ranked ninth in the NCAA in blocks per set over the season.
She didn’t record a single solo block or assist against Ball State, her blocking prowess neutralized without teammate Carissa McKenna to complete Buffalo’s wall.
“We talked pregame about how [Buffalo] is very block oriented,” Fuelling said. “I wanted to stay high and use that block to my advantage.”
The strategy paid off for both her and the rest of the Cardinals, who drilled the Bulls for 47 kills.
Fuelling’s night helped open up her teammates, particularly Kylee Baker. When McKenna keyed on Fuelling, Jacqui Seidel and Jenna Spadafora would give it to Baker, who was able to find holes in the defense.
Shondell called the game a team win, saying it was going to take more than one individual to knock off a 14-2 team like Buffalo.
Teams have to play as one cohesive unit to have success and although Fuelling led the offensive charge, all six players on the court have to be in sync through both good and bad stretches.
That includes accidentally running over a teammate from time to time.
“I wanted to make sure Kati [Vasalakis] was OK and we both looked at each other,” Fuelling said, trying not to laugh. “She basically just threw me off and we tried to get back up because I was expecting the ball to come right back over the net and straight at me.” It was just one of those nights.