Ball State Volleyball (3-1, 0-0 MAC) grabbed their second sweep of the year, taking down the Grambling State (0-4, 0-0 SWAC) 3-0 in the first match of the Mary Jo Wynn tournament in Springfield, Missouri this weekend.
Junior Sydney VanBeek had a strong first game with four early kills, helping the Cardinals to an early 11-5 lead. Seniors Meg Starling and Ellie Dunn also contributed points for the Cardinals. With 11 assists from junior Amber Seaman, the Cardinals took set one, 25-13. Starling finished the set with a 1.00 attack percentage, leading the team to a .571 percentage.
During her junior season last fall, Starling tallied 126 kills, ending the year with a .268 attack percentage. Already this season, she’s had two matches above .700. VanBeek added 200 kills of her own last season, contributing 254.5 points as a sophomore for the Cardinals.
“Both girls were extremely aggressive tonight,” Head coach Kelli Miller said. “They executed at their normal pace and they didn’t try to do too much. They were up on time and its evident in the numbers that they worked very hard tonight.”
Errors began to pile up for the Tigers in set two. Starling and VanBeek continued to dominate for the Cardinals on the frontline, while the Tiger offense struggled to return the heat. Tiger juniors Kevreion Ward and Jaivieanna Jones attempted to keep their team in the game with a couple of kills; however, the set favored the Cardinals from the start and they grabbed a second win at 25-8.
“I was proud of our offensive numbers,” Miller said. “But those numbers don’t happen without ball control. That’s the story behind those numbers: good passing that allows us to keep a good rhythm.”
Sophomore setter Ali Finch played a major role in set three, adding 12 assists and contributing two kills of her own. Kills from sophomore Kia Holder and seniors Jessica Lindsey and Dunn helped to seal the match win for the Cardinals, 25-12.
After tonight’s match, Starling has recorded five career double-digit kill matches. Starling had a career high match of 15 kills in her junior season with the Cardinals against IUPUI last fall. She also added a career-high of 10 total blocks last season against Idaho State.
Tonight’s match saw Kate Avila leading the team in digs with nine, followed by Dunn with seven. Kills were led by VanBeek with 13 and Starling with 11. Finch added 17 assists, and Seaman contributed 16.
“I want to continue the consistency,” Miller said. “We have to continue to play at a high level, starting with ball control. I’d like to see another match of high hitting percentages and for us to compete consistently with Oral Roberts and Missouri State the way we did tonight.”
The Cardinals will face Oral Roberts tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. for their second match of the tournament.