Ball State starts MAC play with comeback win

Members of the women's volleyball team celebrate after winning the match in the second game of the Active Ankle Tournament against Belmont on Aug. 28 at Worthen Arena. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY
Members of the women's volleyball team celebrate after winning the match in the second game of the Active Ankle Tournament against Belmont on Aug. 28 at Worthen Arena. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY


The Cardinals went on to drop the first two sets, but fired back and ultimately came back to win the match 3-2 over the Rockets.

"We didn't want to start the MAC with a loss and lose that momentum, so this goes a long way for us and definitely gives us an edge," head coach Steve Shondell said.

After dropping the match's first seven points, Ball State fell 25-13 in a lopsided first set. The second set was a little closer, but Toledo still earned a 25-18 win.

"We just couldn't get a rhythm going at all to start the match and we looked out of it," Shondell said.

Going into the third, however, the Cardinals switched up their defensive back line. Senior Alex Fuelling, who was returning from injury, moved from the front to the back.

Shondell made the switch after Fuelling was blocked at the net a couple times to start the match.

"She's not the jumper that she was yet before the injury, so I knew that she would more than likely struggle," Shondell said. "But we decided to try her so as not to lose an early substitute. It would obviously come back to bite us, but luckily we would come back from it."

The switch would not only help Fuelling's rhythm, but the rest of the team's rhythm, too. Toledo wouldn't make it easy, but Ball State took the third set 26-24. 

"[Toledo] gave us a battle in the third, but after that, the momentum swung to us and we would pick up the next set pretty handily," Shondell said.

Ball State won the fourth set 25-11, forcing a decisive fifth set. The Cardinals won their fourth fifth-set of the season 15-10 to complete the comeback.

The switch in defense resulted in 19 total Ball State blocks, led by Kelly Hopkins with two solo blocks and seven block assists. Hopkins also led the attack for Ball State with 12 kills. 

Ball State now improves to 7-8 on the season and 1-0 in MAC play. The Cardinals will return to action on Sept. 26 against Akron (7-7; 1-0 MAC). 

Last year, the Cardinals beat the Zips 3-1.

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