Ball State Women’s Volleyball’s Head Coach Kelli Miller Phillips' return did not leave her with the feeling she wanted.
After missing the first six matches for maternity leave, Miller Phillips returned to the floor, but Bowling Green (8-0 MAC) spoiled it by beating the Cardinals (5-3 MAC) 3-0 in both matches.
“I am glad to be back with the team,” Miller Phillips said. “I have a lot going through my mind right now and a lot of ideas. Tonight’s performance did not make me feel great because I know we are more capable than that.”
Miller Phillps was not shocked by the result because of how the team prepared throughout the week. Before the weekend series, Ball State hadn’t got swept in a match.
“This was my first week back in practice, and I am not surprised how we played this weekend based on how we were training in practice this week. I thought we just went through the motions. We forgot what it meant to have that edge and what it meant to play Ball State Volleyball.”
Lone senior outside hitter Kia Holder echoed Miller Phillips and thought Ball State was going through the motions before the weekend series. Holder led the Cardinals with 18 total kills in the two matches.
“I think the biggest thing we got from [these games] is that we can’t take anything for granted,” Holder said. “This week during practice, we kind of just went through the motions, and it came back to bite us this week. It is a gut check, and we have to figure out how to get better.”
Sophomore opposite Allison Hamaker had 10 kills combined in the two matches and thought Bowling Green’s attack caused the Cardinals’ issues. The Falcons had a .270 hitting percentage in the first match and .281 in the second.
“They just hit high and deep corners,” Hamaker said. “They were hitting over us, and we have to fix that.”
Defensively, Miller Phillips thought the Cardinals could have done a better job getting their hand on Bowling Green’s hits. The Falcons’ Katelyn Meyer had a total of 25 kills for the Falcons in the two matches.
“I thought our blocking presence was not what it should be,” Miller Phillips said. “They were hitting high shots. Katelyn Meyer reaches high, and she hits great shots. She is going to get hers. The amount of times they hit the ball off of our hands was unusual for us. I thought we were a step late with what we were doing.”
Ball State was also without sophomore defensive specialist Maggie Huber due to an undisclosed injury, and they expect her to be back for the Cardinals’ next match.
“Her progression has gone well,” Miller Phillips said. “We expect her to be able to start training with us on Sunday. She is such an impact player in little ways. I think that showed this weekend. Just with her communication and presence. That hurt, but it is the role of everyone else.”
Despite being swept in both matches, Miller Phillips’ competitiveness is still there, but she said it feels nice getting to go home to her new child.
“It is going to be great to go home and see my new baby,” Miller Phillips said. “When I am on the court, my competitive mindset, my coaching, and the love and passion for what I do stays. I think post-match, it’ll be a bit better at home compared to what it was a year ago.”
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