5 matches that shaped the MAC standings
With the women’s volleyball regular season coming to a close within the next few weeks, there have been numerous upsets and influential games that have shaped how the Mid-American Conference standings have shaped up. These are the top five games that have had some of the biggest influence.
1. Oct. 10, Ohio University falls to Kent State University in four sets.
Coming into the match, Ohio was 4-0 in MAC play and looked to be the strong favorite to finish with the best record in the MAC.
It had the highest Ratings Percentage Index in the conference and had a marquee 3-0 win over the University of Oregon, who was ranked No. 8 in the nation at the time, just on the road on the final day in August.
2. Oct. 19, Ball State beats Ohio on the road in five sets.
At the time, Ohio and Ball State shared identical 6-1 records and were tied for first place atop the MAC standing, Ball State in the West and Ohio in the East. Ball State traveled to Ohio and, in five sets, knocked off an Ohio team that had lost just one match at home all season, a 3-2 loss to a No. 24 University of North Carolina team.
Ball State got a combined 30 kills from sophomore Alex Fuelling and freshman Mackenzie Kitchel while senior Jacqui Seidel and sophomore Jenna Spadafora combined for 51 assists. The win moved Ball State into sole possession of first in the MAC.
“We showed a lot of heart, desire and determination,” Ball State head coach Steve Shondell said after the win against Ohio. “This win really showed what our team is made of.”
3. Nov. 2, University of Toledo wins a nail biter against Central Michigan University in five sets
Sitting in second in the MAC West, Toledo was trailing Ball State by one and a half games during its match against Central Michigan. With a showdown against Ball State looming, Toledo won the first set before dropping the next two.With the match on the line, Toledo pulled out a 25-21 victory in the fourth set and a 15-11 win in the fifth set to clinch the comeback victory.
The victory means whichever team emerges with the win Thursday when Ball State and Toledo face off at Worthen Arena will have the lead in the MAC West.
4. Oct. 26, Western Michigan University falls to Ohio in a 3-2 battle
Sitting in the MAC West with three losses, Western Michigan was tied with Toledo and just one game behind Ball State for the MAC West lead after Ball State fell to Bowling Green State University just a day earlier.
With a shot to climb to the top of the conference, Western Michigan wasted an 18-kill performance from Alysia Baznik and fell 3-2 to Ohio after jumping out to a 2-1 lead.
The loss demoralized Western Michigan, who then lost its next game against Northern Illinois, dropping their conference record to just 6-5 and making the road to a MAC West title very slim.
5. Oct. 25, Ball State loses to Bowling Green in its only home loss of the season
Coming into the match, Ball State had lost just one conference match, a road game against Toledo. The Cardinals had won five matches in a row and looked to give themselves breathing room in a crowded MAC West.
On Oct. 23, Ball State’s top offensive threat, Fuelling, went down in practice with a sprained ankle. Starting in her place would be Kitchel. On just the fourth point of the match, Kitchel went down to the ground with a left leg injury and did not return.
The loss of offense was too much for Ball State. The team found rhythm when Spadafora was inserted into the lineup, but was already trailing 2-0 and ended up losing its second conference game of the season, this one a 3-1 defeat.
“The heart of your team has been dented,” Seidel said. “Even though the loss didn’t show it, I think we rose to the occasion.”