Tuesday evening’s match went back-and-forth, but the cards didn’t fall in the Cardinals’ favor.
Ball State Women’s Volleyball (8-11 MAC) fell to Miami (Ohio) (11-8 MAC) in five sets in a crucial matchup, which ultimately eliminated them from contention for one of the four spots in the Mid-American Conference.
Head coach Kelli Miller Phillips said that despite having two upperclassmen and a team of mainly freshmen and sophomores, the loss doesn’t hurt any less.
“We are certainly a young team,” Miller Phillips said. “It doesn’t make you feel any better. Everybody is super competitive, so it still really hurts. I know that we will have good lessons learned. I know this will help us as we look to the offseason. We are going to have to work that much harder to get over the hump.”
The Redhawks got off to a winning start as they came out of the gate and won the first set 25-13. Miller Phillips had a stern conversation with her team, and she said she was proud of how they bounced back
“That first set was completely unacceptable for who we are,” Miller Phillips said. “We were playing like our backs were against the wall. I told that them, ‘We have to start playing confident. We have to play Ball State volleyball.’ I don’t know what happened in set one, but I was really proud of how they bounced back.”
Ball State came out and took the second and third sets 25-23. Senior outside hitter Kia Holder led all players with 19 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Natalie Mitchem followed with 11 kills. Freshman outside hitter Cait Snyder had nine kills as well.
Despite losing, Miller Phillips thought the matchups were really close and that the Cardinals weren’t at any disadvantage. She thought their experience might have played a role in the Redhawk’s win.
“The whole match minus set one was back-and-forth,” Miller Phillips said. “I don’t think there was a matchup or anything, in particular, I thought they did, or we did differently. I thought our service pressure picked up, and they struggled a little bit.”
Sophie Riemersma led Miami (Ohio) with 18 kills, followed by Sarah Wojick and Gaby Harper with 15. They had four players who had 13 or more kills, and that balance is one of the reasons Miller Phillips thought they won.
“They are a really balanced team,” Miller Phillips said. “They are strong, and even when you serve them out of system, they take really big swings at the pin. They have experienced players out there, and that is what you expect from experienced players.”
It was also senior night for the Redhawks, and their senior outside hitter found momentum in the end and helped lead Miami [Ohio] to the victory in the final set.
“They had some big swings on the left side,” Miller Phillips said. “[Wojick] came ready to play. At the end, she really got hot, and she wasn’t going to lose her final match at home.”