After falling in the first set against Oral Roberts (2-4, 0-0 Summit), junior Sydnee VanBeek would record a career-high 20 kills and led Ball State Volleyball (4-2, 0-0 MAC) on the way to a 3-1 victory.
Facing a 1-0 deficit, the Cardinals reeled off three consecutive set wins to pick up their third consecutive victory. VanBeek paved the way with a .500 (20-2-36) hitting percentage and tied for match-high honors with three total blocks. VanBeek became one of just two active players to post 20 kills in a match during her career as she joins senior Ellie Dunn. Head coach Kelli Miller felt that the team had a lot to gain from the tournament.
“I felt as though we learned a lot from this weekend,” Miller said. “That’s the main goal in the non-conference matches is to learn. I think match three taught us a lot in itself.”
Dunn broke through in the final two sets of the match with nine kills to produce 12 on the night. She corralled 15 digs to post her third career double-double. Senior Jessica Lindsey played an integral role in the win with 10 kills and finished with a match-high three blocks.
“We kept high hitting percentages in those first two matches,” Miller said. “It really allowed our offense to be in rhythm.”
Defensively, libero Kate Avila finished with a team-high 22 digs as defensive specialist Anna Jensen closed out the match with 11 digs.
Match two of the day against Missouri State (3-3, 0-0 Missouri Valley) started neck-and-neck with an early score of 10-10. Attack errors on both sides of the net kept the set close, but junior Aubrey Cheffey and freshman Amelia Flynn gave the Bears an edge and put the set at 18-13. Senior Ellie Dunn led the Cardinals in kills during the set, but they were unable to grab the win with a score of 25-21.
“Missouri State was really physical in the front row,” Miller said. “It gave our hitters a little trouble. We have to learn how to adjust to different frontlines and how to get around those obstacles.”
The Bears proved to have a strong frontline in Cheffey, Flynn, and senior Cambree Villarreel, all three contributing to an 11-8 lead over the Cardinals. A few more errors from the Cardinals deepened the deficit, but freshman Reece Kral attempted to bring the team back with a few kills of her own. In the end, Cheffey led the Bears to another set win, 25-17.
While the Cardinals were able to take set three with a 25-21 win, the Bears would round out the match with a victory in the set following. With a score of 25-17, the Bears tallied 16 kills with a .227 hitting percentage just in the fourth. The Cardinals put 11 kills on the board, but posted a .067 attack percentage of their own.
VanBeek finished the weekend with 40 kills over three matches, ending in a .395 attack percentage. Avila totaled 51 digs, and Seaman added 102 assists.
“I hope the team saw what they are capable of, this weekend,” Miller said. “When we have rhythm and confidence, we can really dictate the game. When we have high serving and passing pressure, we can accomplish a lot.”
The Cardinals will be in action next Friday in Worthen Arena for the Ball State Active Ankle Challenge.