Ball State takes on Toledo with tournament seeding on the line
Ball State women’s volleyball will be shifting gears as they enter the week in line for a spot in the eight-team 2016 Mid-American Conference Tournament.
The Cardinals' game against Toledo Nov. 3, however, will help determine who they play in the tournament.
"Now, we’re playing for seeding," head coach Kelli Miller said. "Yes, we’ve got into the tournament, but we still are in a position where we can get a bye in the tournament, which is crucial.”
In the MAC Tournament, the top two seeds receive a double-bye to the semifinals while the third and fourth seeds skip to the second round. At 7-5 in conference play, the Ball State is in a three-way tie with Toledo and Bowling Green for fourth place.
“Our match against Toledo is going to be kind of the tiebreaker,” Miller said. “Right now, we’re sitting tied with them to get that bye seed. This Thursday night match is going to depend on whether or not we get that bye or whether or not they’re going to.”
The Cardinals lost 3-1 to the Rockets Sept. 29 in Worthen Arena as Toledo’s defense blew out Ball State.
“Toledo plays really good defense,” Miller said. “The first time we played them, I don’t think we were expecting them to make as many plays as they did. We wanted good shots that we were hitting to score on them, but we weren’t scoring them. We kind of got impatient and maybe took some more Hail Mary swings than we normally do.”
Ball State, Toledo and Bowling Green are all sitting at a tie with the fourth seed on the line. The Cardinals currently have the upper hand when it comes to the tiebreaker procedure. All three teams hold 1-1 records in head-to-head matches for the first tiebreaker.
The winner of the Nov. 3 game, however, will have a 2-1 head-to-head record and the advantage in the tie.
Since starting the season 0-9, Ball State has made adjustments putting them at 11-6 in their last 17 matches. The Cardinals are looking to keep up the pace and better themselves from their previous meeting with Toledo.
“This time around, we have to make sure we remain patient and understand they’re going to dig balls and understand they’re going to extend rallies," Miller said. "We have to just keep going and not get impatient and make silly errors, like we did the first time."
Ball State and Toledo will face the same opponents, facing Akron, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois over the next week as they fight for the last seed.
“Playing four matches in four days [in the tournament] is tough, so if we can get a bye out of it and only have to play three, that would definitely be in our advantage,” Miller said. “We’re playing to get into that by situation that will then help us out. We still have a ton to play for and a ton on the line.”
First serve will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 3 in Toledo.
“This match has a little more weight on it than your typical Ball State versus Toledo match,” Miller said.