After a tough loss on Friday against Miami (OH), Ball State (17-6, 8-2 MAC) finds redemption with a victory over another top MAC contender in Bowling Green (14-9, 8-2 MAC).
Led by senior Ellie Dunn and junior Sydnee VanBeek, the Cardinals’ found their groove again, cutting their attack errors from the previous night almost in half. With a combined total of 27 kills from the two leaders and 23 from the rest of the Cardinal offense, the team substantially improved on their consistency from the night before.
“Ellie and Sydnee put up big numbers and definitely put us in a good place last night,” head coach Kelli Miller said. “The whole team was more consistent than they were the night before, and that’s the key to winning games.”
The Cardinals may have achieved a sweep, but the Falcons did not go down without a fight. Freshman Katelyn Meyer contributed 14 kills and sophomore Katie Kidwell added five blocks to make for a strong performance from the Falcon front row.
The first set saw the Cardinals outperforming the Falcons in hitting percentage by .210, which was ultimately the deciding factor in the set. The Cardinals won 25-16, aided in part by the five Falcon attack errors and the consistent hitting percentages throughout the Cardinal roster.
“Ultimately, our serving and passing were better tonight than against Miami last night,” Miller said. “That’s where the hits come from, you don’t get those big hits unless you get the pass.”
The Falcons found their footing in set two, where they tied the Cardinals in kills for the set and showed their defensive skills with 30 digs, 11 of which came from senior libero Kallie Seimet. While the fight they put up was praiseworthy, the Cardinals were not allowing a replay of the night before and they won set two in extra points, 27-25.
An eight-point steak midway through the third set saw the Cardinals up 18-10, courtesy of three kills from Dunn and two from senior Emily Holland. The Falcons attempted to fight their way back into the match with four kills from Meyer and an impressive back row performance, but the Cardinals would come out on top, winning set three 25-20 and rounding out the match.
“There’s a lot to learn from a weekend of tough competition, but I think the big one is that you cannot focus too match on who you’re playing,” Miller said. “We’ve got to focus on us and what we are capable of. We’ve got to play Ball State volleyball regardless of who is on the other side of the net.”
Key players in the match were Dunn, who tallied 15 kills, VanBeek with 12 kills and five blocks and junior Kate Avila with 22 digs. Following in kills were graduate student Jessica Lindsey with seven and Holland and freshman Reece Kral each had six.
The Cardinals come home to Worthen next weekend to face Northern Illinois and Western Michigan.