Junior outside hitter Sabrina Mangapora goes for a low hit at the game against Ohio State on Sept. 17 at John E. Worthen Arena. The women's volleyball team will shift gears as they enter the week with a spot in the eight-team 2016 Mid-American Conference Tournament. Kyle Crawford // DN File
Cardinals' women's volleyball season ends in three-set loss to Western Michigan
Ball State women's volleyball faced an uphill battle to keep their Mid-American Conference Tournament hopes alive — the Cardinals were 1-7 in matches in which they had lost the first two sets, and they had just fallen behind 2-0 to Western Michigan.
Down 11-8 in the third set, the Cardinals went on a 3-0 run to tie the match but weren’t able to ever regain the lead as Western Michigan defeated Ball State 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-17) to eliminate the Cardinals in the first round.
“I didn’t really feel like at any point in the match that we were really in any kind of control,” head coach Kelli Miller said. “Western Michigan came out guns blazing and we seemed like we were on the defense at all times.”
Ball State match leaders
Sabrina Mangapora: 13 kills
Amber Seaman: 17 assists
Brooklyn Goodsel: 14 digs
Sophomore outside hitter Brooklyn Goodsel finished with 9 kills and 14 digs, and junior outside hitter Sabrina Mangapora led the Cardinals with 13 kills.
Western Michigan was led by freshman middle blocker Quiana Ware, who had a career-high 15 kills.
“She was unbelievable tonight,” Miller said. “It’s the best I’ve ever seen her play and she picked the right time to do that.”
Western Michigan was also led by sophomore outside hitter Bailey Schnell, who finished with a season-high 15 digs and 10 kills (6 kills in the third set).
The Cardinals started the night off with a kill from freshman middle hitter Sydnee VanBeek, who finished with 5 kills on the evening. Ball State had a 9-8 lead in the first set, but following a 3-0 Western Michigan run the Cardinals weren’t able to regain the lead.
The second set belonged to Western Michigan from the very beginning. The Broncos jumped out to a 9-3 lead and forced the Cardinals to call an early timeout. Ball State was able to go on a 4-0 run late in the set to trim the lead to 19-16 but Western Michigan followed that with a 4-0 run of their own to limit any hopes of a Cardinals comeback in the set.
Ball State started the third set off strong with three straight points, including two kills from Mangapora and an ace by VanBeek. But once again, the Broncos responded with a 3-0 run of their own to tie the match right back up including two kills from Schnell.
The Cardinals used their first timeout of the third set after the Broncos went on a 4-0 run to break an 11-11 tie midway through the set. After that, Western Michigan controlled the remainder of the set and were able to eliminate the Cardinals from postseason play.
Ball State will finish the season with a 13-18 (9-7 MAC) record. Western Michigan (12-18, 6-10 MAC) will face Bowling Green (20-9, 10-6 MAC) in the second round of the MAC Tournament at 6 p.m. Nov. 18.