Ball State women’s volleyball finished off this weekend’s tournament at Worthen Arena strong with a straight set win against Fort Wayne (3-4), 25-21, 25-19, 25-22.
Cardinal junior middle hitter Emily Holland led the team with nine kills, followed close behind by junior outside hitters Brooklyn Goodsel and Ellie Dunn with eight a piece. Fort Wayne was led in kills by Nicole Rightnowar with 11.
Fort Wayne kept all three sets in a battle for points, the teams tied a total of 30 times. Ball State (5-1) head coach Kelli Miller thought that Fort Wayne’s aggressiveness on the court, paired with their ability to play scrappy and not back down, proved to be a sufficient challenge for the Cardinals.
“They were firing away at both their pins and really just coming at us with nothing to lose,” Miller said. “Our veteran players really stepped up. I thought Dunn and Goodsel really wanted to get out of here in three and we set them a ton of balls there at the end and they were really able to find openings on Fort Wayne’s side. I thought that was the biggest difference. After point 20 we really dialed in and made it matter.”
Sophomore defensive specialist Kate Avila led Ball State with 13 digs. Avila mentioned the difficulty involved in playing an in-state rival. Nonetheless, Ball State kept pace and pushed back with a strong offensive performance, much attributed to the team's on-court chemistry.
“I think we’re all best friends off the court and on, so I think that helps us a lot,” Avila said. “When we do get out there we know how to talk to each other, we know exactly what we’re going to do. We all know our position on the team, and that helps tremendously. Every single person on the court and on the bench, we all have a position and we could all go in at any given time.”
Holland noticed that Fort Wayne had focused on the girls weak spots throughout the match and really put full pressure where they could.
“They exploited exactly the things we weren’t doing well in, so we had to work through that,” Holland said. “Everybody was ready to come in and that always helps. When everyone is ready and we all have that same mentality.”
With the win, Ball State sweept its opponents at the Ball State Tournament. The Cardinals lost only one set in three games.
Ball State returns to action this Tuesday at 7 p.m. against IUPUI in Indianapolis.