Two pounds of ground beef. One can of tomato paste. Four cups of water. One large onion. Three tablespoons of chili powder. One teaspoon of cinnamon. A half an ounce of unsweetened chocolate. Cincinnati-style chili.
“We can’t get enough of it,” fourth-year libero for Ball State Women’s Volleyball Maggie Huber said.
Huber and fourth-year middle blocker Marie Plitt are both from Loveland, Ohio, about two and a half hours away from their beloved Cincinnati chili. Huber and Plitt are a pair playing for Ball State Women’s Volleyball.
“Outside of the chili, which is technically in Cincinnati, I love going on the Loveland Bike Trail with my family because we would walk and take the dogs, and there are some nice restaurants around there,” Huber said.
Plitt, on the other hand, appreciates downtown Loveland for the shopping areas and the coffee shops.
Being from the same town, with a population of 13,191 people, Huber and Plitt did not attend the same high school. However, they did play for the same travel volleyball team, Elevation, based out of Mason, Ohio.
“It was fun to travel to other places,” Plitt said. “We do that a little bit now, traveling to different places, but then I was still in high school, and since I was not teammates with her in high school, it was fun to be able to see [Huber] for certain times in the year.”
Outside of Elevation, Huber was a decorated player, winning individual awards and state championships for head coach Jeni Case at Ursuline Academy, an all-girls preparatory academy in Cincinnati. Through four years at Ursuline, three of which Huber was a letterwinner, two-time all conference selection and second team all-state selection in her junior year.
“Jeni was such a huge influence on me,” Huber said. “She had been my coach for so many years, and her daughter, Logan Case, is one of my best friends from high school, so I spent a lot of time around [Jeni].”
Along with her individual accomplishments, Huber was part of back-to-back Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) Division I state championship winning teams at Ursuline.
Shebelieves the big crowds her school brought to games helped her understand how to play in high-pressure situations.
While Huber was at Ursuline, Plitt was a multi-sport athlete at Loveland High School in volleyball and basketball, earning four letters for her play on the basketball court.
Under her head coach and mother Julie Plitt, she won back-to-back Eastern Cincinnati Conference (ECC) Player of the Year awards in her final two years at Loveland High School and was a first team all-ECC selection in each of her four years.
Marie’s father, Steve Plitt, lamented on how his wife and daughter faced some scrutiny for their relationship on the court, but their work ethic did the talking.
“Marie’s play spoke for itself, and my wife’s experience and success at other high schools were great for the Loveland High School program who captured league titles and sectional titles and a district title, which had never happened before, so both of them thrived in that environment,” Steve said.
Steve noticed a unique type of bond unfold between his wife and daughter.
“I give a lot of credit to Marie and her mom and their relationship to go in between the court and home, so watching them grow as a coach and a player was special, but it never carried over to home because their bond became even closer off of the court,” he said.
With the success, Marie said her mom was harder on her than any of her teammates when it came to volleyball because of their relationship at home.
When the time came for Marie to make a decision for college, Ball State was at the top of the list.
“I think her brother being there and her being familiar with the campus and seeing the tradition of the volleyball program, along with her visit there and the coaches asking more in-depth questions about what her goals were beyond volleyball in life, [all played a role in her decision],” Steve said.
After Marie had committed, the path was paved for Huber to make her decision.
“Maggie started talking to Ball State, and she was like, ‘I think I want to commit here, but is it okay with you?’ and I said, ‘Please I would love that, it would be so much fun,’” Plitt said.
At the time, the relationship between Huber and Plitt was not as strong as one would think.
“We were definitely not as close as we are now, so I remember not wanting to overstep and commit to the same place that [Marie] was going,” Huber said.
Fast forward four years and two Mid-American Conference (MAC) championships later, the two are closer than ever.
Huber and Marie, now roommates, spend most of their time together. Both playing volleyball, making dinner and enjoying each other's company on and off the court.
“I can look at her and trust what she’s saying, or if she gets on me for something, I can say, ‘You are right,’ … there’s never any malintentions,” Marie said.
A bond that carries through.
“Now we’re the best of friends,” Huber said.