Ball State:

#1 Mackenzie Kitchel
Outside Hitter
#2 Alex Fuelling
Outside Hitter

7330_ballstate01f.jpg
Fuelling led Ball State with 340 kills despite missing four games with an ankle injury. Her average of 3.7 kills per set also leads the team.The transfer from Morehead State is playing in her first MAC tournament, with Steve Shondell previously referring to her as the “future of Ball State volleyball.”
#4 Kati Vasalakis
Defensive Specialist
#5 Kylee Baker
Outside Hitter
#7 Lauren Grant
Opposite Side Attacker
#8 Mindy Marx
Middle Blocker
7330_ballstate01f.jpg

Marx is entering her final MAC tournament, this time attaining 307 kills in the regular season, second highest on the team. Her .355 attack percentage is also second highest. Marx has been a thorn in Western Michigan’s side, adding 32 kills in just eight sets against them this season.
#9 Sabrina Mangapora
Outside Hitter
#10 Nikki Box
Defenseive Specialist
#11 Jacqui Seidel
Setter
#12 Jenna Spadafora
Setter/Outside Hitter
7330_ballstate01f.jpg
Spadafora was a setter throughout most of the 2013 season, but currently plays the role of outside hitter to help cushion the loss of Kitchel, whose knee injury has sidelined her for the season. Spadafora has brought 76 kills in her limited time this season and has seen her role increase.
#14 Kelly Hopkins
Middle Blocker
#15 Lauren Gross
Middle Blocker
#16 Catie Fredrich
Libero
#17 Marquita Marshall
Outside Hitter
#18 Hayley Benson
Middle Blocker
7330_ballstate01f.jpg
Benson finished the season with 276 kills, and led the team in attacking percentage with .359. She gave Western Michigan trouble this season by grabbing 31 kills in eight sets. She’s tied for second on the team with 111 sets played, matched by Marx and only beaten by Fredrich with 112.

#19 Amanda Raker
Middle Blocker

Western Michigan:

#1 Lena Oliver
Libero
#2 Caroline Rose
Outside Hitter/Defensive Specialist
#3 Erienne Barry
Setter
#5 Ali Gossen
Outside Hitter
#6 Alysia Baznik
Outside Hitter

7330_ballstate01f.jpg
Baznik leads Western Michigan with 289 kills, although she does it with just a .169 attack percentage. She’s one of five players on her team to compete in every set all season. Against Ball State, Baznik was one of Western Michigan’s most successful offensive players, adding 20 kills in eight sets.

#7 Lexie Pawlik
Setter
#8 Stephenee Yancy
Middle Blocker
#9 Kaycee Acree
Defensive Specialist

#10 Rachel Sheffer
Outside Hitter

7330_ballstate01f.jpg
Sheffer finished the regular season with 283 kills, just six shy of team leader Baznik, and she did it with 39 fewer attack errors. Her 2.44 kills per set is third highest on her team. Her offensive output against Ball State was the highest on her team, totaling 21 kills in eight sets with just seven attack errors.

#15 Claire Gerwig
Outside Hitter
#17 Gillian Asque
Outside Hitter
7330_ballstate01f.jpg
Asque is a wildcard for Western Michigan because she didn’t play in the first matchup against Ball State. Last Saturday, Asque posted a team-high 13 kills, only one attack error and a .400 attack percentage. She’s played in just 61 sets this season, and has 93 kills over those sets.

#22 Ave Stout
Middle Blocker
7330_ballstate01f.jpg
Stout is only fifth on the Western Michigan team with 240 kills, but has been efficient. Her .325 attack percentage is second highest on the team, just .004 below the leader. Stout started both matches against Ball State and had 13 kills and eight errors while being one of the many cogs in the Broncos offense.
#30 Richelle Ranney
Middle Hitter





























Advantages:

7330_ballstate01f.jpg
Ball State blockers vs. Western Michigan outside hitters: Advantage Ball State
Against Ball State, Western Michigan’s outside hitter had just 72 kills in eight sets while committing 32 errors. Meanwhile, Ball State had 23 blocks in those sets. The Broncos top outsides hitters are Rachel Sheffer and Alysia Baznik, who have combined 572 kills and 36 percent of the team’s offense. Baznik actually has the lowest hitting percentage of all the outside hitters at just .169 but her kills come from volume, as she’s had 853 attempts, the most on the team. Meanwhile, Hayley Benson and Mindy Marx have combined for over 200 solo and assist blocks, including 19 against Western Michigan this season. Ball State also ranks fifth in the MAC with 2.23 blocks per set, while Benson ranks first on the Ball State team with 0.93 blocks per set.

7330_ballstate01f.jpg
Gillian Asque vs. Ball State defense: Advantage Asque
Asque’s main advantage against Ball State is how little they know about her. Asque has played in just 20 matches this season and didn’t play against Ball State in the two teams’ first matchup at Worthen Arena. Instead, Ball State had their first look at her on Nov. 16, when she was by far the most effective hitter for Western Michigan. It was one of just six starts she had throughout the season. Although the Ball State defense has been strong this season, Asque hit .309 throughout her limited action and Ball State has less film on her than the rest of the players on the team. She could be a key contributor when setter Lexie Pawlik decides to go away from the usual offensive players on the team.

7330_ballstate01f.jpg
Ball State offense vs. Western Michigan defense: Advantage Ball State
Ball State, even with the injuries they’ve suffered, brings a lot of firepower. Because of Mackenzie Kitchel’s injury and Kylee Baker’s playing a more defensive role, Spadafora has taken over as an outside hitter and compliments Fuelling. Combined with the offense that Benson, Lauren Grant, and Marx bring, Ball State leads the MAC in kills with 14.83 per set, more than a full kill above Ohio who sits at No. 2. Meanwhile, Western Michigan is ranked in the lower half of the MAC in opponents hitting percentage, allowing a .208 hitting percentage to opponents. They are also ranked eighth out of 12 in kills by opponent, allowing 13.11 per set. The last time these two teams met, Ball State had 25 kills in just the second set. Benson ranks first in the MAC in hitting percentage, Marx is third.

7330_ballstate01f.jpg
Western Michigan offense vs. Catie Fredrich: Advantage Fredrich
Western Michigan has had success on offense this season, ranking third in the MAC in both hitting percentage and kills. Their offense is one of the most balanced in the MAC, having five players with at least 240 kills, yet none with 300. Setter Pawlik has distributed the ball very effectively, finishing first in the MAC in assists per set with 11.17. Fredrich currently ranks fifth in the MAC in digs per set with 4.76, and has 45 against Western Michigan this season. During those two matches, Western Michigan hit just .171 percent and .179 percent, with Fredrich playing a key role in Western Michigan’s struggle to put kills away.