WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Offense explodes in Ball State sweep at Miami

Cardinals have best offensive night of the season

If the Mid-American Conference was worried about Ball State after last weekend's win over Ohio, the concern had to grow after Friday night. Ball State dominated Miami in the best offensive match of the season, hitting .367 while winning 25-18, 25-15, 26-24.

The win improves Ball State to 17-4, 7-2 overall.

"We had everything clicking in the first two games," coach Steve Shondell said. "We had a good week of practice. Everyone looked sharp this morning and in pregame match practice."

Ball State's previous best offensive output came against Oakland in the final match of the Active Ankle Challenge at Worthen Arena. The Cardinals recorded a .339 rate of success against the Golden Grizzlies.

Miami has struggled to seven wins this season, one of them was an impressive win over Ohio. For that reason Shondell and his team expressed respect for the RedHawks.

"We had to take them seriously," freshman outside hitter Whitney Heeres said. "Any team can beat any team on any night. We knew we had to come out and be serious, and do our job to put the ball away."

The healthy dose of respect kept Ball State from being a victim of an upset. It also kept the recent trend of the road team winning in the series. The road team has now won each of the last five contests between the Cardinals and RedHawks.

Heeres continued her run of spectacular play for the Cardinals. She led Ball State with 16 kills.

"I'm seeing the court a lot better lately and getting more confidence," Heeres said. "I'm having fun going out there and giving it everything I have. Brittany [McGinnis] and I have improved our connection and that's really making a difference."

Junior middle blocker Kelsey Brandl, who flirted with the record for best attack percentage in program history, finished with 11 kills and a .688 hitting percentage. Her bid to break Sharon Strayer's record hitting percentage of .813, slipped away with a couple late attacks that didn't find the floor for kills.

Freshman outside hitter Kylee Baker also finished in double-digit kills for Ball State. Baker ended the night with 10 kills.

Ball State hit over .400 in the first two sets before Miami clamped down defensively. The stronger defensive effort held Ball State to a .267 hitting percentage.

"They came out of the locker room a few minutes late and were warned for it," Shondell said. "They played with unbelievable emotion in the third game. We had to fight for our lives to win that one. They were a totally different team. That's why I said they were dangerous."


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