In-state bragging rights will be on the line Aug. 31 when Ball State women’s volleyball hosts IUPUI in its home opener.

Outside hitter Mackenzie Kitchel is the only senior on the Cardinals’ roster, and she said she doesn’t want anything less than a win.

“It’s the last first time I’ll be playing on this home court, and I think our home court is so important,” she said.

Kitchel’s experience means her younger teammates may turn to her for advice, a task she said she’s ready to take on.

“I think that’s one of my biggest roles this year,” she said. “And even if I’m struggling, I think that it’s really important for me, mentally, to be there to show a huge leadership role to all of my teammates.”

Ball State is 0-3 on the season after dropping three matches in the Fort Wayne Invitational. Freshman setter Amber Seaman said Ball State has kept its eyes on IUPUI, which opened its season by going 1-2 in the IUPUI Hampton Inn Invitational.

“We didn’t get down about this past weekend, and we just practiced with mentally pushing through with a chip on our shoulder,” she said.

Head coach Kelli Miller said even with the losses, the Cardinals improved throughout the Fort Wayne Invitational and could push through to beat IUPUI.

“We played really well on [Aug. 27], so I think that’s giving us some momentum,” she said. “... Everyone wants to play in front of their home crowd to showcase who you are for this season.”

The game against IUPUI is set to begin at 7 p.m. in Worthen Arena. Before the game, the Cardinals will honor recently retired head coach Steve Shondell.