Ball State's women's volleyball team huddle up at the start of game against IUPUI on Aug. 31 at John E. Worthen Arena. Kyle Crawford // DN
Ball State looks to keep record perfect in MAC play
Still sitting undefeated in Mid-American Conference play, the Ball State women’s volleyball team will return to Worthen Arena Sept. 29 when it hosts West Division rival Toledo.
The Cardinals (6-10) (2-0 MAC) are entering the week with a target on their back. Ranked second in the league with a home matches MAC record of 246-74 (.769), head coach Kelli Miller is trying to keep all of her team’s focus on the match.
Sabrina Mangapora season statistics
Total kills 198
Kills per set 3.05
Attack pct. .191
Serve pct. .810
“We’re approaching this match kind of separate from the rest of the season. Although we're coming off a win streak, each match is to be played for its own,” Miller said. “We’re trying to not look at what’s happened in the past, while also not looking too far into the future.”
After several meetings with Toledo, Ball State maintains a 63-7 all-time series advantage. The Cardinals hold a four-game win streak over the Rockets, beating them last season in a close five-set match.
Winning six of the past seven games this season, the Cardinals are right where they want to be in the second week of MAC play.
“Our team has continued to get better every week, putting us in a good position right now. However, we have had some unbelievable matches with Toledo every single time we play,” Miller said. “If you look at how many times we’ve gone five sets and how many wins have been by two points, it’s going to be a hard-fought battle every time.”
Miller is looking forward to seeing her team make more of an effort altogether in the match against Toledo. Junior outside hitter Sabrina Mangapora has steered the Cardinal’s offense over the seven-match run, leading the team with 111 kills and a 3.58 kills-per-set-average. She has posted double-digit kills in the last six victories, while being the only player in the MAC to score at least 20 kills in three matches this season.
“We’re continuing to get into a better offensive rhythm. That’s something Brooklyn Goodsel and Sabrina Mangapora have done. We need Mangapora to stay in her hitting rhythm and we hope to be able to get some more players involved in our offense,” Miller said.
The Cardinal’s offense holds a .210 attack percentage in their past seven matches. The team’s defense continues to improve, limiting opponents to a .169 success rate.
Sophomore right side Brooklyn Goodsel has been an asset to the Cardinal offense with 96 kills to make for a 3.20 kills-per-set average, along with double-digit kills in six of her last seven matches.
Goodsel has found success on both sides of the court, ranking third for the Cardinals' defense with 66 digs, for a 2.20 digs-per-set average.
Miller said she is anxious to see the duo continue to play their role in MAC play, but hopes they are in good company this time around.
“We want to get everyone more involved and feeling more confident on offense. We’ve been successful on one or two arms, but I would like to continue to make that three, four or five arms,” Miller said.
Sept. 29 marks the end of the Cardinals' six-match home stand. The game is at 7 p.m. in Worthen Arena.
“With Toledo not losing anyone from their starting lineup last year, we’re going to have to come ready to play against a more experienced team,” Miller said. “Just like every time we play Toledo, it’s going to be quite the battle.”