Women’s Volleyball claims regular season title after defeating Eastern Michigan in five sets

<p>Ball State Women&#x27;s Volleyball players line up before their game against Central Michigan Nov. 5 in Worthern Arena. Eli Houser, DN</p>

Ball State Women's Volleyball players line up before their game against Central Michigan Nov. 5 in Worthern Arena. Eli Houser, DN

Ball State Women’s Volleyball (26-3, 16-1 MAC) had not been to a fifth set in a match since Oct. 9, but its 3-2 victory over Eastern Michigan (9-19, 4-13 MAC) went to five Nov. 13.

Eastern Michigan won set one 25-21 and set four 25-19, while Ball State won sets two, four and five by scores of 25-17, 25-19 and 15-9 respectively.

“I think they were playing free with nothing to lose,” head coach Kelli Miller Phillips said. “We just played a little anxious early on. It just took us a while to settle in. I felt like in sets four and five we started to play like ourselves.”

Freshman setter Megan Wielonski totaled 61 assists against the Eagles, a season-high. 

“Eastern is a really good team,” Wielonski said. “I think we kind of underestimated them a little bit. We just kind of had to regroup and not underestimate them. I’m glad we got the win tonight.”

With Bowling Green losing its match against Ohio Nov. 13, the Cardinals win also confirms the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championship will be played at Worthen Arena Nov. 21-24.

Freshman setter Megan Wielonski (15) digs the ball after a save from junior outside hitter Natalie Risi against Northern Illinois at Worthen Arena Oct. 16. Wielonski had 34 assists against the Huskies. Jacy Bradley, DN

“That’s huge,” Phillips said. “That is something that we have been eyeing for quite some time and just to know that we’re going to get that home court advantage, that we’re going to have the fans behind us, that is going to be such a huge bonus. We cannot wait to bring the tournament here and play in front of all our awesome fans.”

After hitting a career-high 20 kills Nov. 12, graduate student outside hitter Jaclyn Bulmahn smashed 19, while junior defensive specialist Maggie Huber had a team-high 23 digs.

"I think all together, (we) played really well,” Bulmahn said. “Eastern is a really good team. We had to come out and play super hard and do whatever it took to win and it feels really good.”

The victory marks the 16th on the bounce for the Cardinals, as well as 26 total, which leads the NCAA.

Ball State closes its regular season Nov. 17 against Toledo. The match begins at 6 p.m.

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

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