A movement to return the once proud women's volleyball program to glory is underway. While the status of the effort under first-year Ball State coach Steve Shondell is unknown, Friday night provided a glimpse of what could be.
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Ball State took another step in returning the women's volleyball program to prominence by winning the Active Ankle Challenge at Worthen Arena this and setting an attendance record this weekend.
Freshman outside hitter Kylee Baker continued to shine brightly early in her career at Ball State. Baker blasted a career high 16 kills and 11 digs in Ball State's 3-0 win against Oakland on Saturday night.
Ball State could have been caught looking ahead to their match with Oakland on Saturday night at Worthen Arena by Robert Morris. This was such a concern that first-year coach Steve Shondell went over game tape from Friday's Robert Morris match until 2 a.m.
First set domination eliminated any thought of worry, no matter how little, of an unsuccessful home opener for the Ball State women's volleyball team.
Worthen Arena, the home of the Ball State women's volleyball team, hasn't been a place for success. In the past four seasons, the Cardinals have struggled to a 17-32 regular-season record at home, winning no more than six games in Worthen Arena during that span.
Good teams find a way to win games, even when fighting fatigue from playing two matches in one day.
The NCAA delivered good news to Ball State's women's volleyball program earlier this week when it ruled freshman Mindy Marx will be eligible to play this season.
One member of Ball State's women's volleyball's talented 2010 recruiting class may be ineligible this season because of dispute over a class she took in eighth grade, coach Steve Shondell said.
Steve Shondell remembers watching his father, Dr. Don Shondell, coach Ball State men's volleyball from the Irving Gym sidelines as a child.
Fans waiting to get the opportunity to see the 2010 Ball State women's volleyball team in action will have to wait a little longer.
Members of Ball State's women's volleyball team reported to campus last weekend in preparation for the start of fall practices this week.
The Shondell era may not have officially started on the court yet, but the 2010 Ball State women's volleyball team will have the opportunity to break through with its first winning season in five years.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Ohio State University's attack attempt tipped off one of his players and landed out-of-bounds for the match-winning point, coach Joel Walton threw his binder about five feet underneath the team's bench.
Senior setter Ethan Pheister has placed No. 13 Ball State University in the national spotlight.Phiester was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association Men's Division I-II National Player of the Week on Monday for his performance Saturday against IPFW."Ethan is definitely playing well and I think our guys are definitely playing well around him," coach Joel Walton said. "It was Ethan's entire effort and all-around body of work that he put in the IPFW match that earned him the accolade."Pheister led a balanced offensive attack against the Mastadons as four Cardinals reached double digit kills. The Cardinals won the match in a 3-0 sweep (30-28,30-23,30-22). Ball State is 5-0 during Pheister's career when four Cardinals score 10 or more kills in a match. Pheister was productive on the defensive side of the net too, earning nine digs and four block assists.Libero Billy Ebel was not to be outdone by his teammate, as the senior won the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Defensive Player of the Week award for the fourth straight week. Ebel has won the award seven times this season.Pheister was named MIVA Offensive Player of the Week to go along with his national award. It is the first time this season that a Cardinal won the MIVA Offensive Player of the week award.Walton does not want Pheister, Ebel and the rest of the Cardinals to stop winning awards as the All-MIVA Tournament and All-American teams are still to come."The more important honors are still out there," Walton said. "If they make one of those teams it's really high praise." Ball State will play No. 10 Ohio State University on Wednesday night in Columbus. The Buckeyes are two-time defending MIVA champions.
Coach Joel Walton doesn't want to tip his hand even the slightest to No. 10 Ohio State University.Less than 24 hours before playing Ohio State in the conference tournament semifinals, the Ball State University coach said Tuesday that he does not want to announce who will be starting at left outside attacker."We've having some discussions between myself and my coaching staff," he said. "I'm 90 percent sure what direction that the starting group is going to be, and we'll keep it at that."The Cardinals (19-10, 7-5 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) have started senior Matt Sprague and freshman Larry Wrather along side Lee Meyer at the two left outside attacker positions in recent matches.Sprague, who had limited playing time this season because of ankle injury, has started the last two matches. In Ball State's MIVA Tournament quarterfinals victory against IPFW, he had six kills and a .059 attack percentage on offense and two blocks.Walton said after Saturday's match that he likes having Sprague on the court more for his defensive and senior leadership abilities.Wrather started 15 matches and is eighth on the team with 1.57 kills per game. The freshman had started 11 consecutive matches before being pulled for Sprague midway through Ball State's last match against Ohio State on April 16 after having two kills and -.273 attack percentage.Walton declined to comment if there were any other players he was considering to start at the left outside attacker position because he wants to keep Ohio State guessing until the start of the match.The Buckeyes (20-7, 11-1 MIVA) enter this match as the MIVA regular season champions and are on a seven-match winning streak against the Cardinals. That streak includes two sweeps against Ball State this season and Ohio State wins the last two years in the MIVA championship match. Walton said the success of the left outside attackers will largerly determine if Ball State can pull off the upset.He said the Buckeyes will set up a blocking scheme designed to take away All-MIVA middle attackers J.D. Gasparovic and Anders Nelson, leaving Ball State's outside attackers one-on-one with Ohio State's blockers. "Ohio State is going to scheme to our middles and they are going to say to our outsides, ‘I don't think you can carry this team to victory,'" Walton said. "Good left side production will make the difference."Ohio State coach Pete Hanson was unvailable for comment despite multiple phone calls.The semifinal match will start at 7 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio.Walton said he and his players are confident they can defeat the Buckeyes to advance to their third consecutive MIVA championship match."We got the guys that are capable of doing what we need to do to win," he said. "It's do or die and now is the time. Our guys need to make it happen."
No. 13 Ball State University's season comes down to tonight's match.Ball State travels to No. 10 Ohio State University for a Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament semifinal. The Buckeyes are the MIVA regular season champions and two-time defending tournament champions."They are a very good team playing with a lot of confidence," Ball State coach Joel Walton said.Ohio State has swept Ball State twice this season: in Muncie on Feb. 5 and in Columbus, Ohio, on April 16.Ball State is 19-10 and has a 2-8 record against ranked opponents. Ohio State is 20-5 and has defeated Ball State seven straight times."I don't think we're not confident enough," libero Billy Ebel said. "It's just that when we get into that situation where we are playing them, we can't do what we need to. I've beaten Ohio State in my four years, and getting the rest of the younger guys and older guys to believe that, I think, is the most important thing."The Buckeyes earned a first round bye as the No. 1 seed in the MIVA Tournament. Fourth-seeded Ball State defeated IPFW 3-0 in Worthen Arena on Saturday in their quarterfinal match to advance to the semifinals.Walton said he does not believe Ohio State's home court advantage will be much of a factor."[St. John Arena] is fairly similar to our arena," he said.Ohio State's setter Steven Kehoe and outside attackers John Klanac and Shawn Sangrey are First Team All-MIVA selections, and Kehoe was named the MIVA Player of the Year.Klanac and Sangrey had 18 and 17 kills, respectively, against the Cardinals when the two schools met April 16."To stop those guys is impossible," Walton said. "We want to hold them below season averages in efficiency and kills per game average. They've got good offensive players at every position. Serving will be critical."Ohio State has a larger budget than Ball State and most other MIVA schools, but Walton that won't be an excuse for not beating the Buckeyes."The true statement is that Ohio State has more scholarship dollars than Ball State," Walton said. "I think the group of guys that we have right now are capable of beating Ohio State."
No. 13 Ball State University is now two matches away from a Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament title. Ball State prevailed in a 3-0 (30-28, 30-23, 30-22) win against IPFW Saturday night in the quarterfinals of the MIVA Tournament at Worthen Arena. "We had a really good scouting report on them and we felt like we matched up well against them," middle attacker Anders Nelson said.Ball State has now swept the season series with IPFW with three victories against the Mastodons in 2010."We've got them this year and I know Coach [Ernie] Ball is not going to be happy about it," coach Joel Walton said. "He's going to go out and recruit and bring in some players that are going to be a lot more competitive next season."The Cardinals were able to balance their offense as four players ended with double digit kills. Outside attacker Eric Schulte led the Cardinals in kills with 12 while Nelson, J.D. Gasparovic and outside attacker Lee Meyer ended the match with 11 kills each. "That's exactly what you want to see," Walton said. "A plus-300 hitting percentage, and an offense that's running through a lot of different players. That's really ideal."IPFW ran its offense through its outside attackers Elon Fyfield and Darryl Shank as both had a team-high 10 kills. Ball State knew where IPFW was attacking from the whole match because of them."We really trusted our defense – it was a key especially Fyfield and Shank," Meyer said. "We weren't quite there in game one and we made some adjustments in game two and game three."Meyer credits Ball State's success to the Nelson and Gasparovic as IPFW could never find an answer for the middle attackers. Nelson hit at a team-best .600 attack percentage while Gasparovic led the Cardinals in blocks with seven."I have to give credit to our middles," Meyer said. "They've been performing admirably the entire season."In the previous match with IPFW the Mastodons committed 23 service errors. Tonight the Mastodons stayed with the Cardinals with only 11 service errors."We knew that they were not going to play that way again the last time we played them," Nelson said. "We figured that both teams were going to up their game because it's tournament time."Game one was the closest of the three as IPFW had 26-24 lead before Ball State ended the game on a 6-2 run."I feel like IPFW competed well in game one," Walton said. "It was a hard game to win. A sign of growth in this team is that we were in situations like that earlier in the season here in Worthen Arena and we lost those games. This team has grown this year and a further sign of growth is going to be what we do against the Buckeyes Wednesday."Ball State is 19-10 on the season and advances to the MIVA semifinals to play No. 10 Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday. Ohio State is the two-time defending MIVA Tournament champions and has defeated Ball State twice already this season. IPFW ends its season at 12-17. "The second this match ended that was our thought," Nelson said. "We actually talked about Ohio State in our huddle; we'll be ready for them."
"April Madness" of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament has arrived as No. 13 Ball State University will play host to IPFW in Worthen Arena tonight for the MIVA Tournament Quarterfinals.
2010 MIVA Tourney Quarterfinals Ball State vs. IPFW 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Worthen Arena Cost: $3 for students; $5 general admission