Ball State remains tough in must-win situations

The women's volleyball team huddles up before a set in the second game of the Active Ankle Tournament against Belmont on Aug. 28 at Worthen Arena. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY
The women's volleyball team huddles up before a set in the second game of the Active Ankle Tournament against Belmont on Aug. 28 at Worthen Arena. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY

Upcoming schedule

Oct. 2 vs. Northern Illinois - 7 p.m.

Oct. 3 vs. Western Michigan - 7 p.m.

Oct. 9 at Central Michigan - 7 p.m.

Oct. 10 at Eastern Michigan - 7:30 p.m.


Neither win came easily, however, as Ball State won both matches — against Toledo and Akron — in five sets. 

The Cardinals have won five of six five-set matches this season, and head coach Steve Shondell said it's a tribute to the team's mental toughness.

"We didn't want to start the MAC with losses on the road, so these wins are huge for us going forward," Shondell said.

Ball State trailed the match against Toledo 2-0 before making a comeback on Sept. 24, then trailed 2-1 to Akron two nights later.

Of the Cardinals' five-set matches this season, they have come back from a 2-0 match deficit three times. Starting slow in matches this season is something Shondell has become accustomed to.

"We have had a history this season of starting slow and finishing strong," Shondell said.

It took a team effort to win both matches over the weekend, and Shondell said the team played near-perfect fifth sets in both.

The Cardinals' offense rises to a different level in must-win fifth sets, averaging about a .400 attack percentage. It's also averaging fewer than two attack errors per final set.

These strong late performances have not only earned the team two crucial conference wins, but also a lot of momentum. The Cardinals now have a two-match winning streak following three losses in a row.

Ball State is one of three teams with a perfect MAC record so far, with 14 conference matches remaining.

The Cardinals will return to action Oct. 2 at home with a stiff test against Northern Illinois, who is 2-0 in league play also. But with how the season has gone so far, Shondell and his team are looking forward to it.

"We are pleased to win back-to-back road matches to begin MAC play this season," Shondell said. "[We] look forward to improving each week and peaking at the MAC Tournament in late November."

Comments

More from The Daily






Loading Recent Classifieds...