After finishing 2-1 at the Mary Jo Wynn Invite in Missouri, Ball State Women’s Volleyball (4-2, 0-0 MAC) prepares for the third tournament of this season, this time at home for the Active Ankle Challenge.
Though the Cardinals suffered a loss against Missouri State in their last match of the tournament, head coach Kelli Miller was pleased with the team’s performance and where they’re headed.
“I think we’re right where we need to be,” Miller said. “We certainly played better this past weekend than we did in Dayton, and I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
While this team is upperclassmen heavy, a couple of underclassmen have begun to find their footing. Freshman Reece Kral contributed six kills in the match against Oral Roberts this past weekend, coming out to a .353 attack percentage.
“The adjustment from high school volleyball is definitely something I’ve had to get used to,” Kral said. “It really helps to have my teammates behind me. College volleyball is obviously a lot harder and more intense, but it’s still volleyball and I love it.”
Sophomore setter Ali Finch was also a key player in the tournament, tallying 17 assists in the match against Grambling State and two kills of her own. Finch had a strong freshman campaign as well. Last season, Finch recorded two assist/dig double-doubles, one of them being against Western Michigan where she grabbed a career-high of 47 digs.
“The upperclassmen are great at leading by example,” Finch said. “They set a high standard for what our team and our program needs to do to win games and be successful.”
Every player has their role and plays their part on this team. Miller says that the year of her players has no bearing on their role within the team.
“Each person plays their role to the best of their ability,” Miller said. “That’s what our culture is about and that’s what you have to do in order to compete for championships.
Going into this weekend, the Cardinals prepare to host the Northern Iowa Panthers (2-3, 0-0 Missouri Valley) , The North Dakota State Bison (2-5, 0-0 Summit) on Friday and the Indiana University Hoosiers (4-1, 0-0 Big 10) on Saturday.
“It’s always nice to be back in Worthen,” Miller said. “It will be a tough weekend. All three competitors are playing at a really high level and we are going to have to be ready to go for each and every match.”
The Cardinals will take on the Bison on Friday at 10 a.m. and Panthers later that day at 7:30 p.m.