Cardinals snap 3-game skid with Jaguars
Ball State Volleyball (5-4, 0-0 MAC) swept IUPUI (2-8, 0-0 HL) 3-0 in Worthen Arena. In their previous three meetings, the Jaguars have taken down the Cardinals, with the most recent match in 2017 going to five sets.
The entire frontline was contributing during set one. The Cardinals racked up kills from seniors Ellie Dunn, Meg Starling and Emily Holland, along with freshman Reece Kral.
“We had a quick turnaround coming off of the Active Ankle Challenge this past weekend,” Kral said. “The focus tonight was really just to come in here and get the job done.”
While the Cardinals only won the kill category by one for the set, the Jaguars’ -.029 hitting percentage would help the Cardinals to a set one victory, 25-12.
“A lot of my confidence stems from the reassurance and support I get from my team and the coaches,” Kral said. “We have a lot of upperclassmen, and feeling supported by them is a big confidence boost.”
Kral kept firing in set two, adding three more kills and a .444 attack percentage. While the Cardinals held the lead for the entire set, the Jaguars started to build momentum, and the score climbed to 20-16. Junior McKayla Wright and senior Elizabeth Scott both smashed late-set kills for the Jaguars. Scott hit .462 in the first two sets. The set remained close throughout, but the Cardinals would drive this one home, 25-20.
“Reece does not back down. It’s part of her personality,” head coach Kelli Miller said. “She sees opportunities and takes aggressive swings. As she gains more experience, she’s only going to get better.”
The final set of the match would go to the Cardinals. Sophomore Kia Holder led the offense with six kills, and junior Amber Seaman tallied 12 assists. The Jaguars held on until the end, as Scott added six kills, but with five players hitting in the negative percentages, the Cardinals would come out on top, 25-20.
“One of the harder parts of being a coach is deciding the lineup and who you’re going to go with each game,” Miller said. “We want to give everybody good experience because come conference time, we’ll need everybody.”
Another key contributor in tonight’s match was Holder. She added nine kills to the Cardinal scoreboard, while Dunn led the team with 10. Holland led the team in hitting percentage at .400. The Cardinals collectively hit .226.
“We need to keep working on maintaining the focus we have during good runs,” Miller said. “We can’t let up when we get onto a three-point run. We want to make it a four-, five- or six-point run.”
The Cardinals head to Towson, Maryland, to compete in the Tiger Invitational this Friday and Saturday.