For MyKel Ivy, freshman middle blocker for Ball State Women's Volleyball, competition is everything, including why she came to Ball State.

“I [grew] up in a competitive family, and throughout my whole life, everything has been a competition,” Ivy said. “Not just against each other, but against ourselves to do the best not just in sports, but in everything we do, such as academics and our personal lives.”

When her mother, Crystal, was at Ball State, she competed in track & field. Her cousin, Tiffany Gooden, played basketball at Iowa and later in the American Basketball League for the Colorado Xplosion, and her other cousin, Rod Smith, is a two-time Super Bowl Champion and three-time pro bowler who spent 13 seasons with the Denver Broncos.

Ivy started her own athletics career playing basketball, and she credits her father for the startup because they would play against each other for hours.

“I would be hooping all of the time, and even though my dad was much older and larger,” Ivy said, “I would always take him one-on-one, and we would play games for hours and just be competitive.” 

One day, while playing a routine game with her dad, he accidentally stepped on her and dislocated her knee. Unable to play with her basketball team, Ivy was frustrated. However, the injury opened a door to a new sport. 

“My sister Breana used to play volleyball when she was in high school,” Ivy said. “I played basketball at the time, but I would always [go] to her tournaments, and I always thought it was fun to be able to play with her in the backyard.” 

Playing with her sister gave Ivy a new passion she never had before; something about volleyball sparked her interest in a way basketball didn’t.

“The moment I stepped on the volleyball court, I knew it was what I wanted to do,” Ivy said. “I just loved everything about it, such as the intensity and the community around it.”

Ivy wanted to follow her mother’s footsteps and play sports at Ball State, continuing the legacy her family has created.  

“My mom was a runner here, so being able to continue that legacy and being a collegiate athlete is a big deal and special,” Ivy said. “It is an honor to be here. Ball State has everything I could possibly ever want. It is a very big deal for me to be here because of not only the academics but how competitive the volleyball program is.”

Ivy said she has many aspirations as an athlete at Ball State, and the competitive drive she was born with is the driving force for these prodigious goals.

“I want this to be one of the best volleyball teams in Ball State history, especially with us being a young team,” Ivy said. “I want us to be able to work together and get to the top of the MAC and be the top team.” 

Contact Ian Hansen with comments at imhansen@bsu.edu or on Twitter @ianh_2.