A sixth straight win was added to Ball State Women's Volleyball's (16-5, 7-1 MAC) record as the team defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes (9-13, 2-6 MAC) in straight three sets. Saturday's shutout puts the Cardinals at 11 shutouts on the season.
Junior Amber Seaman started the game off with two aces in a row, contributing to a five-point streak and an early 7-2 lead for the Cardinals. While freshman Danie Tyson let the set in kills with five, a .464 hitting percentage from the Cardinals would grant them the first set victory at 25-15.
Senior Meg Starling tallied 12 kills and four blocks in tonight’s match, adding a spark to the front row from the very beginning.
“I feel like my role is always changing,” Starling said. “I have a personal relationship with each and every person on the team and it helps us to be cohesive and also gives me confidence as a leader.”
The Flashes grabbed their first lead of the match early in the second at 5-4 courtesy of kills from Tyson and freshman Alex Haffner. A number of kills across the Cardinal frontline brought them back in front later in the set at 18-14. Seniors Ellie Dunn and Jessica Lindsey, along with junior Sydnee VanBeek, added three consecutive kills and the Cardinals took set two, 25-21.
Head coach Kelli Miller emphasized that these strong front row performances don’t happen without that first pass from the back row.
“Our serve-receive passers have continued to lay that ball in there consistently,” Miller said. “That gives Amber the opportunity to pick from all three options. When you can set the ball around evenly like that, it makes a huge difference.”
The Cardinals would top off the match with a 25-18 victory in set three, sealed by a kill from Starling.
“I really started from zero when I got to Ball State,” Starling said. “Five years later, I’m confident all around, in every aspect of the game and I look back on that and get butterflies at how much I’ve grown.”
Leading the Cardinals in kills was Dunn with 13, followed by Starling’s 12. The Cardinals saw another solid performance tonight from freshman Reece Kral, who grabbed two solo blocks and six kills. VanBeek contributed a .643 hitting percentage and ten kills, as well.
“I think we’ve gotten better each and every weekend, and that’s what we want,” Miller said. “We have to continue to find those ways to get better every single week and know that you can never get complacent in this league.”