Junior outside hitter Sabrina Mangapora goes for a low hit at the game against Ohio State on Sept. 17 at John E. Worthen Arena. Ball State takes on Navy (3-0) in the first match of the Ball State Tournament on Friday. Kyle Crawford, DN File
Women volleyball hosts Ball State Tournament
Ball State volleyball will open the home portion of its season this weekend as the team takes on Navy (3-0) in the first match of the Ball State Tournament.
For head coach Kelli Miller, the weekend is all about self-improvement.
This has been the team’s focus since last weekend’s season opener at Indiana, where the Cardinals finished the invitational with a 3-1 victory over DePaul, with a strong offensive approach and a mentality for the self-improvement that Miller feels is so important.
“I think right now for a lot of these pre-conference games, we’re trying to focus more on what we need to do and a little less on a huge scouting report,” Miller said. “The goal is to make sure we are improving as a team every single time out there.”
Last week, the Indiana Invitational provided the team with a first-hand look at what they need to improve on as they move toward this weekend. Strategies for serve receive passing, stopping point runs at the start and siding out quicker have been in Miller’s head as she has prepared her team for this weekend at Worthen Arena.
Beyond a home court advantage and Miller’s second round as head coach, the Cardinals also ended last year’s season in second place in the Mid-American Conference West Division.
With experience on their side, the team has high hopes and possibilities for the season ahead.
“I think this team in particular will be bringing back a more experienced group,” Miller said. “Last year we had graduated a lot of seniors from the year before, and this year we have a much more experienced group back, and I think that allows you to just get into your rhythm, and develop team chemistry sooner.”
With five of the six returning starters from last season, the team can only build on the momentum from last year.
Junior outside attacker Brooklyn Goodsel led the team last weekend with 15 kills against DePaul. Working with Miller throughout her career at Ball State, Goodsel said Miller has stressed a common mentality.
“Do your process, and figure out what works best for you,” Goodsel said. “She’s so fiery, it’s so funny, in practice she really gets after us, and I think she just never takes her foot off the pedal, and it’s so great.”
As they head into the weekend, the team hopes to build off the experience they’ve already gained from the 2-1 record they posted at the Indiana Invitational.
The first match of the weekend is Friday at 10 a.m. against Navy, followed by a match against Bradley at 7:30 p.m.