Ball State Women’s Volleyball (15-5, 6-1 MAC) came out victorious after a four-set match against Ohio (8-12, 3-4 MAC). Eleven aces and 19 kills from senior Ellie Dunn ultimately sealed the win for the Cardinals.
Entering the match, a well-placed tip from junior Amber Seaman along with kills from Dunn and junior Sydnee VanBeek gave the Cardinals the early edge, 4-1. The Bobcats crept back at 11-10 courtesy of four kills from Jaime Kosiorek, and they eventually took the lead after a Cardinal net violation. Their lead wouldn’t last long. Five Cardinal aces and Dunn’s five kills and five would grant the Cardinals the victory in set one, 25-20.
“We try to maintain focus on what we are doing and what we can do,” freshman Reece Kral said. “We try not to be too concerned with what our opponent is doing, but what we can do to win.”
Set two looked to be in favor of the Bobcats as the Cardinals hit .029 leading up to the final points. A fire sparked in the Cardinal offense when the set hit 22-19. Dunn rattled off five kills, and though the Bobcats attempted to hold on, the Cardinals sealed another win at 28-26 after an attack error from Ohio’s Tia Jimerson.
“We didn’t let ourselves get overly rattled and we stayed the course,” head coach Kelli Miller said. “Maintaining composure in these situations is something we’ve been working on. Focusing on what’s led up to that point, but taking every point as its own.”
The Bobcats came back hungry in the third set, and they would come out on top, 25-20. Stephens grabbed seven kills while the rest of the Bobcat frontline contributed seven more. With a hitting percentage of .258, compared to the Cardinals’ .172, and five aces, the Cardinal offense could not keep up with the heat brought by the Bobcats, leading to a fourth set.
“Playing in close matches really works on our toughness, and it absolutely helps our confidence,” Dunn said. “Knowing that we have the ability to put that ball away or to get that serve in, it instills confidence in what we can do individually and as a team.”
Kral dominated the net early in set four, hammering home three kills and assisting on three blocks to push the Cardinals ahead, 11-5. With additional kills from VanBeek, Dunn and sophomore Kia Holder, the Cardinals had a solid hold on the set. While the Bobcats went on a six-point streak, the Cardinals would win the match 25-18 after a final kill from VanBeek.
Dunn led the match with 19 kills, and VanBeek and Kral each tallied eight of their own. Seaman gathered 46 assists, and defensive specialists junior Kate Avila and freshman Cathryn Starck each contributed 16 digs.
“I love seeing a full, complete team effort, and we saw that tonight,” Miller said. “Throughout the whole game, we believed we had the game, and that’s great to see as a coach.”
The Cardinals take on the Kent State Golden Flashes Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. in Worthen Arena.