Inspired by a combination of powerful offensive threats, the women's volleyball team sweeped its pair of weekend matches, dispatching Ohio 3-0 Friday and defeating Eastern Michigan 3-1 Saturday.
The Cardinals (15-6 overall, 11-2 Mid-American Conference) increased their home match winning streak to 39 with a 30-22, 30-13, 30-24 victory over Ohio Friday night. In game one of the match, the Cards used runs of four, five and a final run of seven to close the game and disrupt the Bobcats.
"We improved our level of play a healthy notch from last week," head coach Randy Litchfield said. "Once our defense started clicking, those runs start coming for us. When we bring it, we can make those runs."
Ball State was led by junior Katie Butts, who tallied 17 kills and finished with a .419 attack percentage. Butts also added 13 digs. Senior Megan Hammons had 14 kills and led the team with 15 digs.
"I think we're getting more in a flow and playing together," Butts said. "I certainly do think we're the best team in the MAC. We just have to keep playing together."
"If we play like we're supposed to - as good as we are - every team should fear us," Hammons said.
Litchfield said he was pleased with the 802 fans that showed up.
"They are really becoming a constant," he said about the home crowd. "These people are terrific, and if we get on the road and can do some good, we're going to say a big thank you."
And after being defeated 3-0 on the road by Eastern Michigan just over a week ago, the Cards returned the favor, snatching a 30-27, 23-30, 30-17, 30-24 victory to make it 40 straight wins at home.
"For some reason, Eastern Michigan and Kent State are very hard on us," Litchfield said about the Cards' two MAC setbacks. "EMU has a way of making us press a little and get us on our heels. A lot of teams come into this arena and collapse, but they seem to relish playing against us. Unlike last Saturday, tonight we stayed together, didn't get frustrated and buckled down to get a win."
In the first game, Ball State hit .220 as a team, while the Eagles managed just a .087 mark. In game two, the Eagles took an early 20-13 lead to come away with the 30-23 victory. In that game, BSU hit just .065, prompting Litchfield to question his team during the break.
"I asked our team in the intermission if we were allergic to the color green," Litchfield said.
The talk must have worked. In the third game, the Cards finished the game on a 20-7 run behind 8 straight points on Butts' serve.
Hammons threw down 17 kills to creep closer to the MAC's all-time career kills mark, needing just 24 more to set the 10-year old record held by Bowling Green's Tammy Schiller.
Senior Susie Meshberger totaled 16 kills, Butts chipped in with 14, and senior Julie Zylka and junior Jenna Foster each ended with nine. Hammons also recorded 21 digs in the match.