Ball State's women's volleyball team huddle up at the start of game against IUPUI on Aug. 31 at John E. Worthen Arena. The team played strong in a five-set victory over the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Kyle Crawford // DN
Ball State women's volleyball kicks off MAC play
Ball State women's volleyball turns its attention to Mid-American Conference play this weekend after finishing its non-conference schedule with a 4-10 record.
Head coach Kelli Miller would like to continue to see her team improve — the Cardinals have won three of their last four after a 0-9 start to the season.
"I think we’re starting to get some momentum and develop some chemistry with our players," she said. "We’re not necessarily just viewing it as wins and losses, but are trying to keep the same goals and process so we can keep getting better every day.”
Miller said sophomore outside hitter Brooklyn Goodsel and freshman libero Kate Avila are two players that have remained consistent.
“I need them to continue to play well," Miller said. "The biggest thing we’ve improved in the past couple of weeks is our consistency. That’s going to be the challenge for those two. People are going to start to have better scouting reports on them and more information, so the goal for them is going to be to stay mentally tough and to keep getting better."
Following their performances in last weekend’s Active Ankle Challenge, both Goodsel and Avila were honored by the MAC. Goodsel was named the MAC West Division Offensive Player of the Week and Avila was named MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week.
“I expect them to continue to perform how they have these past couple weeks and to focus on keeping their consistency,” Miller said.
Goodsel led the Cardinals in the Active Ankle Challenge with a .308 attack percentage, while averaging 3.58 kills and 1.92 digs per set. Avila averaged 5.17 digs per set with a .966 reception percentage for the three matches played in the tournament.
“We’re not trying to make any fundamental shifts after the weekend, we’re just trying to keep a steady dose of improvement every single week,” Miller said.
Miller said she's planning to ease into MAC play. With non-conference play under their belt, they don’t want to push anything before the MAC tournament.
“The MAC is going to be pretty even this year. So every match that we’re going to play is going to prepare us and give us more experience so we’re ready for the post season,” Miller said. “Our goal is to be our best when it comes to the MAC tournament and not to be our best the first weekend.”
Ball State will jump into MAC play when they host Central Michigan (7-5) at 7 p.m. Sept. 23 at Worthern Arena.
Sept. 24, the Cardinals host Eastern Michigan at 7 p.m. Miller said the team is looking forward to a weekend of challenges within their MAC rivals.
“Our biggest challenge is that everybody is capable of beating one another night in and night out," Miller said. "There’s never going to be an off match where you can play halfway and still win. Each night is going to be a dogfight, test our toughness and make sure we came ready to play.“