WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Ball State setters splitting time
Coach likes the versatility the Cardinals have
The present and the future have collided, and the result has been nothing but beneficial for the Ball State women's volleyball team.
Word has already gotten out about the tremendous play of freshmen outside hitters Kylee Baker and Whitney Heeres, who rank second and third on the team in kills.
But freshman setter Jacqui Seidel has been a relative unknown until recently. In the past week, Seidel has sparked Ball State to a pair of five-set wins over IPFW and Appalachian State.
"It's nice to be able to have someone to come off the bench and have Jacqui lead the team," coach Steve Shondell said. "We're very fortunate to have two setters who play at a high level for us."
Shondell said Seidel offers a more physical presence in comparison to junior setter Brittany McGinnis.
"Jacqui has been playing well off the bench," he said. "She brings more physicality. She plays the net well. She's a stronger blocker and plays more physical defense."
Defense isn't the primary focus for the setter, volleyball's version of the quarterback. The setter decides which attacker will get the kill attempt.
Experience is what really separates McGinnis from Seidel. McGinnis has run the Ball State offense for two years.
In 2007, the season before McGinnis' arrival, Ball State hit rock bottom offensively. The Cardinals had a .095 hitting percentage in a 5-25 season.
With McGinnis running the show, the offense improved to a .183 success rate and 12 wins in 2008. Last season was even better. The Cardinals posted 15 wins and increased their hitting percentage to .200. It was their highest since 2004, when Ball State recorded a .208 hitting percentage.
After two seasons, McGinnis had 2,276 assists, the eighth most in Ball State history. She is on pace to finish second in all-time assists to Emily Sallee's 6,408 and has dished out 363 assists with 10 block assists in 37 sets of action this season.
McGinnis was unavailable for comment.
Seidel has replaced McGinnis on several occasions. In 11 sets, she has recorded 72 assists and six blocks.
"I'm going to accept whatever role I have on the team," Seidel said. "I'm going to help anyway I can. We had a mentality that we were going to turn this around, and we are."
Shondell expects to continue using Seidel when he feels a change is needed. The team welcomes the opportunity to play with both.
"Both Brittany and Jacqui give us great play," Baker said. "We don't have to change too much as hitters. We may have to approach the sets faster or slower, but that's it."