Ball State prepares for final regular season contests
Before the last week of play, consistency had been a problem for Ball State women’s volleyball.
Now, not so much. The Cardinals have won three in a row and four of their last five contests to take control of the Mid-American Conference West Division and put themselves in a position to get a top three seed in the MAC tournament, which is less than two weeks away.
Last week, Ball State grabbed victories over Toledo and Akron in four sets and three sets. This weekend, the team will finish the regular season with trips to Northern Illinois and Western Michigan, both of whom were knocking on Ball State’s door for the top spot in the division.
Although it was a rough past weekend for the Broncos and Huskies who went a combined 1-3, that doesn’t mean that mean that this weekend’s matchups are any less important.
“This weekend will important for a lot of reasons,” head coach Kelli Miller said. “Number one, to get as good a seed as possible in the MAC tournament, and that’s important. You want to put yourself in the best position possible going in.”
Ball State split its previous games against Northern Illinois and Western Michigan this year, both of which were played in Muncie.
“We had a great night on night one against Western,” Miller said. “We weren’t able to maintain that consistency versus Northern, and so the challenge this weekend is to see what have we learned, are we able to maintain that consistency against two tough opponents back-to-back nights?”
Ball State is highly unlikely to get a bye to the MAC tournament semifinals, which is awarded to the conference’s top two teams regardless of division ranking. However, the Cardinals are in a fight for the third spot and to clinch the full division title this weekend.
“[We need] to make sure we continue to get better every week heading into the MAC tournament,” Miller said. “We don’t want to get complacent, we don’t want to peak too early or anything like that.”
These two contests will be the last before the postseason for Ball State, who is aiming to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011.
“When we’re kicking, it’s pretty hard to stop [our offense], I have to admit,” senior outside hitter Jessica Lindsey said. “When we’re going on all cylinders, and we got everyone going, we’re pretty lethal.”
Friday’s contest with Northern Illinois starts at 7 p.m. The game against Western Michigan has first serve set for 7 p.m. Saturday.
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