Cardinals regain momentum as post season draws near

The Ball State women's volleyball huddles up after winning the second match of the Active Ankle Challenge on Aug. 28 at Worthen Arena. Ball State won 3-2. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY
The Ball State women's volleyball huddles up after winning the second match of the Active Ankle Challenge on Aug. 28 at Worthen Arena. Ball State won 3-2. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY

Season Records

Overall - 11-13

Conference - 5-5

Home - 7-1

Away - 2-8

Neutral - 2-4


The Cardinals were undefeated  at 3-0 and at the top of the Mid-American Conference before four toughly fought losses sent them tumbling down the conference standings. 

"We played what I felt to be our best volleyball of the season at both Ohio and Kent State," head coach Steve Shondell said. "But they were very tough teams, and we failed to come home with wins, which hurt us as a team because we felt we were better than what the results showed."

Of the four straight losses, the last three were on the road, keeping them away from their home court, which has seen them win five out of the six times they've played there. But now with the return to Worthen Arena for a four-game homestand, momentum can return in their favor, and so far it has. 

Ball State defeated the MAC's then-second ranked team, Miami, and Bowling Green in straight sets, only the second and third times it's won in that dominating fashion. 

"It's good to see the team rewarded for its good play," Shondell said. "We have been playing good volleyball for two weeks."

The team was missing something in its recent losses, and that was the crowd. With so much success within Worthen Arena this season, Shondell feels it was partially responsible for the big wins. 

"Had we played at Miami, the results could have been different," Shondell said. "Playing here really boosts the players." 

Along with the return home, Ball State has also been able to find better rhythm in its game that has aided it in this past weekend's success. 

"We really improved on blocking and were able to keep our hitting errors really low compared to the rest of the season," Shondell said. 

Ball State had previously averaged around 24 errors a match this season but held it down to 17 against Miami and 13 at Bowling Green, the lowest of the season.

Now, the Cardinals have improved their MAC record to 5-5 on the season and currently sit as the seventh seed in the conference, keeping them just within the window of making the MAC Tournament. 

They will have very hungry competition in their way, as both Buffalo (5-17, 4-6 MAC) and Toledo (4-19, 1-9 MAC) will be coming to Muncie this weekend looking to gain momentum to make a push into the tournament. The Cardinals are confident, though, that their latest success can give them the boost they need to remain in a tournament seed and move up the seeds. 

"We have to keep the momentum and remember it's not how you start, but how you finish," Shondell said.

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