With a 3-1 win over the Bobcats of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, Saturday, the Ball State women's volleyball team stayed undefeated in the Mid-American Conference at 2-0 and also moved its overall record to 6-6.
Head coach Randy Litchfield applauded his team's work ethic and determination, but was not satisfied with the quality of play put forth.
"We just stuck with our usual formula. Real gritty. Real competitive. Real resilient. But it was not our best volleyball," Litchfield said.
Litchfield is not content with the offensive play of his middle so far this season. A lot of that is due to the youth of the middle players.
"On the offensive end, we have to keep working to get better at our middle game. Our three outside hitters are playing better than just about anybody right now, but we are lagging in the middle," Litchfield said. "We are so young in the middle, we just know we need time there."
The outside hitters he is referring to are seniors Katie Butts and Jenna Foster and freshman Sarah Obras. Butts and Foster both had a big match. Butts led all attackers with 21 kills and Foster contributed 17.
"They are stringing together some really nice matches," Litchfield said. "I think it is really important because Sarah Obras has been playing on a bad ankle. Jenna and Katie are playing big and that's a nice attribute of this team. We really pick each other up."
On the defensive side, Litchfield said he feels there is still room for improvement as well. Part of that improvement he feels needs to come in the form of better preparation.
"We've been blocking pretty well, but we blocked poorly Saturday night. I don't think we applied our scouting report very well," said Litchfield.
The win came over an Ohio team that was 11-2 coming into the contest and playing in its home-opener.
"They're really good; maybe the most physical team in the conference," Litchfield said. "They went to 11-2 through September and all on the road. I knew that their home opener would be a real inspired performance."
Ball State is now at .500 on the season; something that Litchfield feels says a lot about his team.
"Our record and our performances of late are validation that we are pretty good. Until we played teams a little more in our league, it was really hard to judge the team. Now, our record is coming along and it validates that we might be pretty decent," said Litchfield.