Confidence is high for Cardinals after beating Redhawks

Freshman outside hitter Cait Snyder kills the ball Feb. 12, 2021, in John E. Worthen Arena. The Cardinals lost to the Falcons 0-3. Madelyn Guinn, DN
Freshman outside hitter Cait Snyder kills the ball Feb. 12, 2021, in John E. Worthen Arena. The Cardinals lost to the Falcons 0-3. Madelyn Guinn, DN

The Cardinals’ confidence is high, and they feel like they are on the brink of something special. 

Despite losing four straight matches, Ball State Women’s Volleyball (7-9 MAC) ended its losing streak with a 3-0 sweep of Miami (Ohio) (8-8 MAC). 

“I thought several things went well,” head coach Miller Phillips said. “Serve and pass was a big strength. I thought that was a huge difference. We put service pressure on them. They were struggling to handle the ball, and we passed the ball much better.”

Both freshmen middle blocker Lauren Gilliland and outside hitter Cait Snyder led Ball State. Snyder led the way with 11 kills, followed by Gilliland’s nine. 

With five matches remaining in the season, both freshmen have found a rhythm, as they have both put up a career-high in kills since their March 11 match against Kent State. 

“They are playing at a high level,” Miller Phillips said. “They are confident in what they are doing, and we are going to need that. We are pretty much all freshmen and sophomores. They are just knowing and trusting themselves.” 

Gilliland credits her older teammates for giving her confidence throughout the season, and she is excited to see where it takes her throughout the rest of the season.

“I am very confident in myself,” Gilliland said. “I am just trying to get better every single day in practice. I am having my teammates help me out with all of that. It is a great feeling, and I am excited for the rest of the season.”

Despite losing four-straight, Mille Phillips believes they are a good team and said she knows they are close to where they want to be. 

“We have said all along that we have been right there,” Miller Phillips said. “We were committed to learning from what has happened in matches past. I hope it is a turning point to know that we are good. We have believed that the whole tonight. Tonight gave us that confidence.” 

Ball State came out and won the first set 25-23, the second 25-20 after trailing early and the final 25-18. One of the areas Miller Phillips wanted improvement was with finishing matches.

“We practiced finishing games,” Miller Phillips said. “That has been our Achilles heel. We have had set points and match points numerous times and hadn’t gotten over that hump. We practiced how to handle situational recognition. We have continued to amp it up and work”

Miller Phillips and Snyder both said they know there will be bumps in the road due to them being young, but they feel confident with the future.

“We are a young team,” Snyder said. “Finding this rhythm is only going to help, and we are only going to improve on it. Finding it late in the season, yes, it sucks because we weren’t winning games, but it can only go up. The future is bright.”

Ball State plays Central Michigan on Friday, March 19, at 7 p.m.

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

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