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 volleybal hits the road to play Eastern, Central Michigan
Ball State women’s volleyball travels to Michigan this weekend to take on a pair of Mid-American Conference West Division opponents.
The Cardinals open up play against Eastern Michigan on Friday and will close out the weekend Saturday at Central Michigan.
Ball State picked up a pair of wins over both teams when they hosted them at Worthen Arena earlier this season. Beating both teams in five sets, head coach Kelli Miller is hoping to take advantage of the familiarity.
“It’s kind of nice to have a little more of an idea of what their lineup’s going to be, and how their team works,” Miller said.
Going 9-6 over its past 15 matches, Ball State (9-15, 5-5 MAC) is tied for second in the West Division. Eastern Michigan (10-15) and Central Michigan (10-12) both carry a 3-7 MAC record into the games.
While Ball State is familiar with facing these teams, they also want to improve from last Saturday’s loss against Ohio.
“This past weekend showed a little bit of our inconsistency," Miller said. "Friday night everything was solid and we played real well, however, Saturday night was almost a reverse."
Looking back at their matches against Eastern and Central Michigan, Miller is putting her team’s focus on what they struggled with during the previous meetings.
“One of the things we’re focusing on is to look back at some areas where we struggled in the match last time against them," Miller said. "We have to make sure we put an emphasis on our pin blocking, and throw down their pin attackers. Besides that, we’re going to focus on hitting better shots and continuing to pass the ball.”
The Cardinals hold a 44-31 lead in the all-time series versus Central Michigan after earning a 3-2 win in the first meeting this season on Sept. 23 in Worthen Arena. They hold a 18-14 all-time record against Eastern Michigan, with their last 3-1 road win on Nov. 7, 2014.
This season, Ball State owns an 8-2 record in matches it wins the opening set. In contrast, Ball State is 1-13 when losing the opening set.
“One thing we’re going to look to do is work on learning to get ourselves out of holes better,” Miller said. “We kind of got off to a slow start on Saturday and we never really worked our way out of that. So if we do get off to a little bit of a slow start, it’s not the end of the world. We just have to fight hard to get us back into the match.”
Miller will be challenging her offense this weekend in hopes of repeating last weekend’s 3-0 sweep against Bowling Green.
“I want us to continue the offensive blow we had on Friday against Bowling Green,” Miller said. “We really had offensive rhythm. We feel pretty good about ourselves, so it’s going to be easy to build off that."
The first serve against Eastern Michigan will be at noon on Friday, then travel to Central Michigan on Saturday at 7 p.m.