Defensive specialist Cathryn Starck returns a serve in John E. Worthen Arena Oct. 12, 2018, at the Ball State Women’s Volleyball game against Ohio. The Cardinals' victory over the Bobcats improved their conference record to 6-1. Eric Pritchett, DN File
Ball State Women’s Volleyball looks to build from strong 2018 campaign
For Ball State Women's Volleyball, the 2018 season was just the beginning, as the team looks to improve after a 22-10 finish.
After last year’s 12-4 Mid-American Conference record, the Cardinals concluded their season with a first-round loss to in-state opponent Valparaiso in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship in Oxford, Ohio.
Out of 18 players, eight will be returning this year: sophomores Reece Kral and Cathryn Starck; juniors Ali Finch and Kia Holder; and seniors Anna Jensen, Sydnee Vanbeek, Amber Seaman and Kate Avila.
This is head coach Kelli Miller Phillips’ fourth season after taking over for Steve Shondell, former head coach from 2010-15. She has an overall record of 54-39 in her current tenure with an average win improvement of 4.5 wins every season.
“Last season, we played well and were focused with great leadership on the team,” Miller Phillips said. “I would just like to see us take more steps to becoming better to where we are playing our best every match, especially during tournament play in November.
“Our goals will be to go out there and play aggressive consistently. This is a new team and a new year, but our mindset of playing hard and executing what we work on in practice stays the same.”
Senior outside hitter and defensive specialist Anna Jensen said she wants to act as a role model for the younger players.
“I want to set an example for our team, especially for our younger players with this being my last season,” Jensen said. “By just playing hard every match and working on what we do in practice, I believe our team has a great group of girls dedicated and ready to play their best.”
The Cardinals have an exhibition match Aug. 24 at Purdue Fort Wayne before beginning the season hosting the Ball State Tournament Aug. 30.