Ball State sweeps Northern Illinois in 3 sets, remain undefeated in conference

Record by sets

3-set matches - 2-6

4-set matches - 2-1

5-set matches - 5-1

Ball State women's volleyball played strong in its first home game since mid-September, defeating Mid-American Conference rival Northern Illinois in three straight sets.

The Huskies and the Cardinals were both undefeated in the MAC West coming into this game. This victory was the Cardinals' third straight win for the Cardinals and keeps them undefeated at home. 

Between the pep band and the 741 fans in the audience, the Cardinals had the motivation they needed to pick up the conference victory. 

Ball State closed with authority in the statement game, beating a Northern Illinois team who was predicted above them in the preseason poll.

In all three sets, the Cardinals lost the lead twice, winning the first set 25-19 and winning the second and third sets 25-21. This victory put the Cardinals on top of the MAC West with a 9-8 record on the year.

"It was a big testimony of how hard we have practiced over the week," freshman Ellie Dunn said. "We usually come out after a second set and let them back in, but we were determined to not let that happen tonight."

The team's domination was lead by the offense's attack production. The team's attack was the strongest it has been all season at 37 percent in the match.

Dunn led the attack with 12 kills for her team. She was followed by fellow freshman Brooklyn Goodsel with 11 and senior Kelly Hopkins with 10. 

"We came out with a goal in mind and executed it well," Dunn said. "I really wanted to do well with Northern Illinois being close to home for me, so I had a little edge to do well."

The defense was strong once again, as Ball State recorded 38 digs compared to Northern Illinois's 31. It was able to get seven total team blocks, showing its strength at the net on offense and defense.

The win improves Ball State to 9-8 on the season with a perfect 3-0 MAC record. The Cardinals are now tied with Ohio for the top spot in the conference and sit on top of the West Division. 

Ball State's next test will be at Worthen Arena, as they host Western Michigan (5-12, 1-1). Last year, the Cardinals played the Broncos three times, winning two of the matches. Western Michigan eliminated Ball State from the MAC tournament in the third match last season.

"Every time we face Western Michigan, it always results in a close match," Shondell said. "It's a rivalry that goes back a few years and is going to continue [this year]."

The Cardinals will look to make up for that loss at 7 p.m. Oct. 3.