Cards move into MAC lead

Team wins two five-game matches.

With a pair of five-game wins this weekend, the Ball State women's volleyball team improved to 8-6 overall and 3-0 in the Mid-American Conference.

The first match was Friday night against MAC West rival Toledo. It was the third-consecutive MAC road match for the Cardinals. The opponent was different, but the result was the same - a Ball State victory.

"It was a really big emotional conference win," head coach Randy Litchfield said.

The win gave Ball State sole possession of the MAC West lead.

"It may be the best MAC start I've been a part of since I've been here," Litchfield said. "These three wins on the road were against upper-division teams. I can't remember starting the league off with three good wins like that."

Despite the win, Litchfield was not totally satisfied with the way his team performed against Toledo.

"For two-thirds of the match we were awesome; the best I've seen us all year," Litchfield said. "A third of the match we were horrible. You don't normally find that kind of combination in a night."

Saturday night, the Cardinals returned to Worthen Arena for the first time in nearly a month to face off against non-conference opponent Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne.

A tired and fatigued Ball State team needed five games to put away the Mastodons. Litchfield said that the "ugly win" was also partially due to his coaching.

"I messed around with the team a lot, in that I played a bunch of different lineups," Litchfield said. "So, I'm at fault as much as anybody."

Sophomore setter Stacie Baldwin sighted the Cardinals' unforced errors as why they needed to go to five games.

"I love the competitiveness of our team right now," Baldwin said. "But there are too many unforced errors that let the teams that aren't our caliber sneak up and take a game from us."

Freshman outside attacker Sarah Obras, who had two consecutive 26-kill matches on Friday and Saturday, says the team needs to focus more now as the MAC season gets into full swing.

"I think we need to click out there," Obras said. "I think we'll get it. It is just a matter of time. We just have to start clicking soon."

The Cardinals will face only MAC teams for the rest of the season; something Baldwin thinks the team is excited for.

"Our goal this year is to go undefeated in the MAC. I think we're really focused and geared in," said Baldwin

Litchfield feels his team has put itself in place to have a very successful conference season.

"We've risen to the occasion in those critical matches," Litchfield said. "They're all big now. We've gotten the road wins necessary to position ourselves for a championship run."


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