Freshman Defensive Specialist Kate Avila bumps the ball to a fellow teammate at the game against Valparaiso on Sept. 16 at John E. Worthen Arena. Kyle Crawford // DN
Ball State women's volleyball loses five-set battle to Ohio
After hard fought losses in the first and fourth sets, Ball State women’s volleyball couldn't recover in the fifth set, losing to Ohio 3-2 (25-11, 16-25, 20-25, 32-30, 15-11).
It was the second loss of the weekend for the Cardinals, who are now 4-4 in Mid-American Conference play (8-14 overall).
“I thought our defense played really well," said head coach Kelli Miller. "I thought we really hung in there, extended rallies and I don’t think our back court could have been much better."
Behind an eight-point run, the Bobcats (10-10, 6-2 MAC) took the first set 25-11. Ohio had more kills (15) than Ball State had points.
The Cardinals, however, responded by staying with the Bobcats to force an 11-11 tie before pulling away to win the the second set 25-16.
“I thought we had more aggression to us in set two," Miller said. "They had a couple errors that really gave us some momentum and we just kind of ran with it. Some people off the bench gave us some spark and did a nice job getting us going.”
After two sets, sophomore outside hitter Ellie Dunn led the team with six kills. Coming off a season best of 22 kills against Kent State, Dunn finished with 13 kills, tied for the team lead with junior Sabrina Mangapora and redshirt sophomore Avery Devoe.
Sophomore middle hitter Emily Holland kept the Ball State offense going with six kills in the third set, a 25-20 win for Ball State. She finished the match with 12 kills.
The fourth set was hard-fought as well, as Ohio needed extra points to reach the requisite two-point margin to win, 32-30.
“We had a lot of match point opportunities and we just couldn’t find a way to get the ball down. We hung in there on defense, but we just couldn’t find that person to get the final kill,” Miller said. “I credit Ohio — they kept balls alive and took big swings and really started getting going over our setter that we couldn’t defend. You’re in an opportunity to get a lot of match points and things just didn’t fall our way.”
Bobcats senior outside hitter/libero Mallory Salis was no match for the Cardinals. Salis had 25 kills on the night and 22 digs.
“Ohio has all kinds of offensive weapons — we knew defending that pipe attack from Salis was going to be tough. However, I think our defense handled it well,” Miller said.
Freshman libero Kate Avila led Ball State’s defense with 25 digs.
The Cardinals closed out their two-match home stand in the “Dig Pink” game and will travel to Bowling Green for their next game Oct. 21. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.