Cards look to stay unbeaten in first road game of season

A 2-0 record to start Ball State's season this past weekend hid many blemishes in its first two matches.

The outside attackers played poorly against IPFW, none finishing with an attack percentage higher than .121. Meanwhile, coach Steve Shondell expressed frustration with Ball State's defensive performance against Loyola.

"No one on our team played the kind of defense they played in practice for whatever reason," Shondell said after the match against Loyola. "[Liberos Catie Fredrich and Kaylee Schembra] served and passed well, but they can do a better job defensively."

With a mid-week match against IUPUI today in Indianapolis, Ball State has an opportunity to make immediate corrections to the mistakes made against Loyola and IPFW.

While IUPUI opened the season last weekend 0-4, their losses came at the hands of four highly touted teams in Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa, Iowa State and Cincinnati. Northern Iowa and Iowa State are ranked above 20 in the national rankings, while Northern Illinois was voted as the preseason Mid-American Conference Champion.

The Jaguars also finished 8-22 in 2010, with a 3-0 loss to the Cardinals on Sept. 7 at Worthen Arena. This will be Ball State's first road match in a series of 11 straight matches away from Muncie, with the next home match scheduled against Toledo on Sept. 22.

With a 17-match winning streak at home and two large and vocal crowds in Ball State's first two home matches of the season, playing for three weeks on the road could be challenging.

Sophomore outside attacker Kylee Baker said Ball State will continue to get better the more comfortable the team becomes on the court.

"We're all comfortable with each other and we trust each other," she said. "We've got a lot of new faces and some people that [were] left [after last year]. It was really good to gel together and get that lineup going. It's a good start to the season."


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