Ball State (13-3, 3-1 MAC) swept Ohio (1-14, 1-3 MAC) Friday evening, with head coach Kelli Miller Phillips attributing part of the win to the Cardinal’s well-balanced attack.
"The more balanced that we can be offensively, the better,” Miller Phillips said. “We take a lot of pride in our ball control, which allows us to move the ball around and get a lot of different people the ball. Then, our hitters are doing a great job of wanting it, demanding the ball [and] being in the right place. That is certainly our strategy, and we want to continue to be able to do that.”
Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Gilliland, graduate student outside hitter Emily Hollowell, junior middle blocker Marie Plitt and junior outside hitter Natalie Mitchem combined for 35 kills against the Bobcats. Gilliland recorded 11, while Plitt, Hollowell and Mitchem scored eight each. Mitchem felt the balanced attack is important to Ball State’s style of play.
“If you have one specific person that is carrying your team, [you] can easily be defeated,” Mitchem said. “If you shut that person down, they don’t really have back up. But if you are balanced like our team, if somebody’s having an off night, the three other people will back you up.”
Junior outside hitter Natalie Risi led the Cardinals in digs with 14 and in service aces with three, while freshman setter Megan Wielonski contributed a team-high 34 assists.
“We rely a lot on all of our hitters and have so much trust in them,” Risi said. “(I'm) Hoping that they do hit those big numbers every night and they just prove themselves every single time.”
Winning the match in three sets by scores of 25-17, 25-19 and 25-15 respectively, the Cardinals looked to have changed it up after Ohio took the previous night’s match to five sets.
“I feel like it was a lot more consistent than yesterday,” junior outside hitter Natalie Mitchem said. “I feel like we were playing Ball State Volleybal. We were more confident today than we were yesterday.”
The sweep against Ohio marks the second consecutive week in which Ball State went to five sets with a team on one night, and then swept the same opponent 24 hours later.
The Cardinals travel to Akron in their next match Oct. 8th. First set is 7 p.m.