Sophomore outside hitter Ellie Dunn jumps up to spike the ball at the game against IUPUI on Aug. 31 at John E. Worthen Arena. Kyle Crawford // DN
Ball State falls to Kent State in five sets
Ball State women’s volleyball struggled to keep up with Kent State, picking up its third loss in Mid-American Conference play.
The MAC rivals fought a hard through all five sets, but the Flashes pulled away in the fifth set to win 3-2 (25-18, 25-23, 16-25, 23-25, 15-6).
Head coach Kelli Miller said she saw some improvements in the loss.
“I was really happy with our passing," she said. "I don’t think we could have passed much better tonight. Defensively, we had some really long extensive rallies and some nice plays that we stuck with. We definitely battled through the whole match.”
The Flashes totaled 13 kills in the first set and outscored the Cardinals 25-18, as Ball State was held to a negative attacking percentage in the set.
“The biggest thing I told the girls is that we can’t come out slow in set one and expect it to be easy in set two to move forward," Miller said. "That kind of came back to bite us tonight.”
The Cardinals jumped on an early lead in the second set, but the Flashes won a close second set 25-23. Sophomore outside hitter/opposite Brooklyn Goodsel racked up 7 kills in the set and finished the match with 17 kills and 19 digs.
Ball State won the third set 25-16, leading the entire set with the help of sophomore outside hitter Ellie Dunn, who tallied seven kills in the set and finished the match with a team-leading 22 kills.
“Ellie Dunn had the best performance she has had in quite some time," Miller said. "All week in practice she was really starting to feel confident in everything that she was doing. She’s worked really hard to put herself in this position and it really paid off tonight."
Her kills total was also a career high.
Although the Cardinals rallied in the fourth set for a 25-23 win, they had trouble carrying the momentum over into the fifth set.
“We battled right there with them," Miller said. "I thought we were hitting good shots, still passing well and were playing good defense, but we couldn’t put the ball to the floor."
Kent State’s momentum was too much for the Ball State defense to handle as the Flashes took the fifth set 15-6 to win the match. The Cardinals are now 8-13 (4-3 MAC) as they move forward to the Oct. 22 match against Ohio at 7 p.m. in Worthen Arena.
Miller said the team is looking forward to moving on tomorrow with a fresh mindset.
“Tomorrow we’re going to reset. We’ll come back tomorrow, watch the film and prepare for Ohio. The most important thing is that we get off to a good start tomorrow,” Miller said. “If there’s one lesson we’ve learned tonight, it’s that we understand the important of getting a good start.”