Women’s Volleyball sweeps Akron to extend winning streak

Junior outside hitter Natalie Mitchem spikes the ball past Northern Kentucky's blockers in Worthen Arena Sept. 18. The Cardinals beat out Northern Kentucky in 5 sets in the final game of the double header. Jacy Bradley, DN
Junior outside hitter Natalie Mitchem spikes the ball past Northern Kentucky's blockers in Worthen Arena Sept. 18. The Cardinals beat out Northern Kentucky in 5 sets in the final game of the double header. Jacy Bradley, DN

Ball State (14-3, 4-1 MAC) defeated Akron (8-9, 2-3 MAC) 3-0 Friday, improving its win streak to four.

The Cardinals were anchored by an all-around serving performance, which helped create separation from the Zips throughout the match. 

“We put a lot of attention on that this week in practice,” head coach Kelli Miller Philips said. “We have got to earn points when we are serving and it starts at the service line.” 

Ball State won the opening two sets by scores of 25-21 and 25-18 respectively. The Cardinals remained unwavered during the late set surges from Akron.

“We were confident the entire set that we were going to win,” junior outside hitter Natalie Mitchem said. “When we were a little down, we just told each other ‘we got this' and picked it up.”

The Cardinals won set three 25-16 to complete the sweep of the Zips. Mitchem led the Cardinals in kills with 10, junior outside hitter Natalie Risi was Ball State’s dig leader with 17 and freshman setter Megan Wielonski assisted a team-high 30 kills. 

Freshman setter Megan Wielonski attempts to tip the ball over the net against Northern Kentucky at Worthen Arena Sept. 18. Wielonski has contributed 52.5 points this season for the Cardinals. Jacy Bradley, DN

With Mid-American Conference (MAC) play in full swing, Wielonski said that Ball State needs to go back to the basics to continue its unbeaten run. 

“Playing our game,” Wielonski said. “Focusing on our side of the net, not what other teams are doing, just taking care of our side and being our team.” 

The Cardinals sit second in the MAC West Division, behind Western Michigan (13-4, 6-0 MAC). Phillips said Ball State needs to trust their skill set moving forward. 

“We practice really hard and we deserve to be confident when we get out there,” Phillips said. “Trusting our skills [and] trusting each other. The points are going to come when you do those things.”

The Cardinals remain in Akron for their next match Saturday, Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. They face off against Buffalo (9-8, 2-3 MAC). 

Contact Daniel Kehn with comments at daniel.kehn@bsu.edu or on Twitter @kehn_daniel.

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