Following a winning record of 19-11 last season, Ball State Women’s Volleyball looks to keep moving forward as the 2018 season begins. 

With 13 returning players on the roster, the team has a familiarity with one another, and that shows on the court. Senior outside hitter Ellie Dunn lead the team in kills last season with 325. Sets played were led by junior Kate Avila with 118 and senior Emily Holland with 117. The familiar faces made crucial impacts on the team’s performance in the 2017 season, and head coach Kelli Miller has no doubt that these veterans will make big contributions once again.

“Regardless of the number of returning players, every team every year is different,” Miller said. “We are focusing on being the best versions of ourselves. That really makes the biggest impact.”

Upcoming matches: 

Aug 24: vs. South Alabama 3 p.m. (Dayton Invitational) 

Aug 25: vs. Dayton 1 p.m. , vs. Marshall 5 p.m. (Dayton Invitational) 

This year’s freshmen include Reece Kral, who added some fire to the team in the pre-season match with a couple of kills to start off her career with the Cardinals. Other freshmen include Esther Grussing as a setter and Cathryn Starck, a defensive specialist.

Veteran leadership on the frontline from players such as junior Meg Starling and sophomore Sydnee VanBeek bring experience from a season ago. VanBeek played a pivotal role up front with 200 kills in 93 sets played last year. Starling compiled 126 kills in 78 sets and stuffed 20 blocks.

“Consistency is a focal point,” said Miller. “We want to play aggressive and consistently, and we will do well.”

To end the regular season last year, Ball State finished with five consecutive wins, including a pair of five-set wins and a 3-0 sweep vs. Akron. However, the season ended when Western Michigan knocked off the Cardinals with a 3-2 win in the MAC Tournament.

The Cardinals were selected by MAC volleyball coaches to win the West division this season. Junior Amber Seaman and Dunn were both selected for the All-MAC West team as well.  

After a 3-0 win against the University of Indianapolis Friday, the Cardinals are gearing up for the Dayton Invitational Saturday facing off against the likes of Marshall, South Alabama and host, Dayton. 

“This team is hungry this year and they’re working hard,” said Miller. “I think our match versus UIndy showed them that their hard work is paying off.”

Contact Gabi Glass with comments at or on Twitter @gabiglass