Courtesy of Home MAC Athletic Communications Departments
Ball State 3, Buffalo 0
Kent State 3, Miami 0
Toledo 3, Akron 0
Ohio 3, Bowling Green 0
Northern Illinois 3, Central Michigan 1
Western Michigan 3, Eastern Michigan 1
MUNCIE, Ind. - - The Ball State women’s volleyball team rebounded from a tough Thursday loss with a dominating 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-15) sweep of visiting Buffalo Saturday night at Worthen Arena.
In improving to 15-4 (3-1 Mid-American Conference), the Cardinals posted one of their best offensive performances of the season by connecting for a .346 (47-11-104) rate of success against a Bulls (14-3/2-2 MAC) defense which entered the week ranked second in the nation in blocking.
"It was a good match to bounce back from a real tough loss Thursday night,” said Ball State head coach Steve Shondell. “I was really pleased with the way we came out and focused tonight. We had really good intensity and I thought our defense was solid. We dug a lot more balls and made plays tonight that we did not make Thursday at Toledo. Offensively, I thought our left sides really carried us and that was great to see.”
Leading the charge on offense was redshirt sophomore outside hitter Alex Fuelling (Decatur, Ind./Bellmont/Morehead State) with a match-high 14 kills and a .481 (14-1-27) attack percentage. Fuelling also logged nine digs and two of BSU’s four blocks.
Also turning in a solid offensive match was senior outside hitter Kylee Baker (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) with 13 kills and a .303 (13-3-33) attack percentage. She also served up two of Ball State’s six aces.
Senior setter Jacqui Seidel (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) was the catalyst for the Ball State offense, handing out 37 assists and keeping the Buffalo blockers guessing wrong most of the night. She also served up three aces and collected four digs.
In the backcourt, senior libero Catie Fredrich (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls) led all players with 16 digs, while sophomore defensive specialist Kati Vasalakis (Yorktown, Ind./Yorktown) added a season-high 10.
"I decided to go with my senior line-up tonight to give them an opportunity, because I know this is it for them, it's a big match for them,” added Shondell. “We really needed to have this match tonight, so I went with Kylee and she responded with 13 kills. Alex was really good on the outside as well."
Senior opposite Lauren Grant (Eagan, Minn./Eastview/Cincinnati) added seven kills and a .500 (7-1-12) hitting mark, while senior middle Mindy Marx (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven) blasted six kills.
Buffalo, which entered the match ranked second in the nation with a 3.13 blocks-per-set average, posted just four total blocks in the contest. Dana Musil and Tahleia Bishop tied for team-high honors with seven kills apiece, while Kelly Svoboda collected a team-best 12 digs.
For the night, the Ball State defense limited the Bulls’ offense to a .149 (29-15-94) rate of success..
Baker got the ball rolling for the Cardinals in the opening set by smashing a kill right out of the gate to help BSU post the match’s first five points. Ball State took its largest lead of the set at the 12-4 mark off a kill from Fuelling, before going on to win the frame 25-18.
Set two saw Buffalo score three of the first four points and maintain a two-point edge at 8-6. However, two kills from Baker helped spark a Ball State rally, as the Cardinals scored the next four points to take their first lead at 10-8. Buffalo would reclaim one-point leads on two occasions (13-12 and 14-13), only to see the score move to a 17-17 tie.
Fuelling would break the final tie with a kill, sparking an 8-2 set-winning rally from the Cardinals. Baker would cap the run with a set-winning kill at 25-19.
With the score tied at 3-3 in the third set, a kill from Fuelling and back-to-back UB attack errors proved costly for the guest as the fell behind 6-3 and never recovered. Leading by four points at the 18-14 mark, the Cardinals used two kills from Marx over the next three plays to put the set out of reach with what turned out to be a six-point rally.
After a pair of Buffalo points, sophomore setter Jenna Spadafora (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) dumped the ball over the Buffalo block for the frame (25-15) and match (3-0) winner.
The Ball State women’s volleyball team returns to action Friday, when it hosts MAC West Division rival Western Michigan in a 7 p.m. first serve at Worthen Arena. All fans will receive FREE admission to the contest as part of Cardinals Mashup.
KENT, Ohio – The Kent State volleyball team brought Homecoming weekend to a close by defeating Miami in a Mid-American Conference contest Saturday night at the M.A.C. Center. The Golden Flashes (8-9, 2-2) made short work of visiting Miami, defeating its guest 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 28-26).
"This was a good win for us tonight," said head coach Don Gromala. "There aren't any easy matches in the MAC, so it's always nice to be able to win in three. Hopefully we carry this over to next week with a ranked Ohio team coming here on Thursday."
Senior setter Aleksandra Nowak showed off her versatility with four kills on only six attempts, eight digs and a match-high 29 assists. Freshman outside hitter Bianca Cifaldi led the offense with 13 kills and junior outside hitter Tinuke Aderemi-Ibitola added 10 kills. Senior libero Hannah Herc tallied a match-high 13 digs.
Kent State never trailed in the opening set and met little resistance in taking a 19-13 lead. That comfortable lead quickly disappeared as Miami tied the game with six straight points. The Flashes' hitters then took over to slam the door shut on the RedHawks. Cifaldi posted a kill, followed by an ace to give the Flashes some breathing room. Aderemi-Ibitola and sophomore Kelly Hutchison then added two kills apiece to end the set.
"We really relied on our outsides tonight and they had some big swings for us early," Gromala said.
The Flashes finally seemed to be in control of the second set after going ahead 21-18, but the RedHawks made a run to tie it up. Once again, Cifaldi provided a kill that put Kent State up for good, and three errors by Miami allowed the Flashes to take the set, 25-22.
Kent State faced its biggest challenge in the third, but held off a Miami comeback attempt. Trailing 24-23, sophomore Bridget Wilhelm delivered a key kill to extend the set. After back-and-forth action that saw ties at 25-all and 26-all, the Flashes closed it out with a kill by Aderemi-Ibitola followed by an ace from Hutchison, the team's seventh of the set.
"We need a really good job in our serving tonight," Gromala said. "For the first time this year, we had two balls hit the net and roll over and drop for us, which was nice. We didn't hit as well in the third set and our serving really picked us up to close it out."
Kent State will be back in action at the next Thursday (Oct. 10) when it welcomes No. 20 Ohio to the M.A.C. Center to conclude the first its first time through the MAC East.
TOLEDO, OH – Toledo completed a weekend conference sweep on Saturday evening with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-20) triumph over Akron in Savage Arena. The victory improved UT’s record to 9-8 overall and 2-2 in league play, while the Zips fell to 6-9 and 0-4 in conference action.
Senior OH Lauren Rafdal paced the Rockets with a career-best performance for a second-straight match, posting a personal-best .500 attack percentage with 17 kills and just one attack error in 32 attempts. Also providing efficient offensive performances for UT were junior MB Brooke Frazer (.714, 5-0-7) and senior MB Dakota Harkins (.467, 7-0-15) as the Rockets notched a season-best .299 hitting mark.
Freshman libero Ellen Hays spearheaded Toledo’s defensive efforts in the back row with 14 digs, while Frazer tallied a team-high three blocks at the net.
Freshman OH Julia Smagacz led the Zips with 14 kills with senior OH Alex Cocklin garnering 11 kills.
The Rockets spotted the visitors an 11-6 lead in the opening set before taking control with an 11-3 spurt. Rafdal played a key role in UT’s rally as five of her eight kills in the stanza came during this stretch.
Toledo took control right away in Set 2 and held the lead the entire way. The Rockets jumped out to an 11-5 lead and extended their larrgest advantage to as many as 12 points.
The final set was close throughout until UT scored six straight points to take a 24-19 lead and end any hopes of a Zip comeback.
Toledo returns to action on Tuesday, Oct. 8 with a non-conference affair at IPFW before returning home to host Northern Illinois and Western Michigan on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11-12.
ATHENS, Ohio – Behind a strong defense and a stellar effort at the net, the No. 20 Ohio University volleyball team (14-2, 4-0 MAC) knocked off East Division rival Bowling Green (6-9, 3-1 MAC) in straight sets (25-17, 25-23, 25-15) Saturday evening inside the Convocation Center.
With the win, Ohio improves to 4-0 in league play for the second time in three seasons, and the team’s 14-2 start matches the program’s best since the 2005 campaign.
In what became a hallmark of Ohio’s home stand, the ‘Cats again held a sizable lead (13-6) in total blocks against the Falcons. Through two matches this weekend, the Green & White held a 28-13 edge in the blocking game. Ohio also knocked down 40 kills to BG’s 34 and hit .278 for the match while limiting the Falcons to a .112 clip – including a .000 mark in the third set.
For the fourth time in five matches, junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti (Cary, Ill.) put together a double-double for Ohio, notching 10 kills and 10 digs while adding two service aces against Bowling Green. She was aided at the net by freshman outside hitter Katie Horton (Westland, Mich.), who tallied nine kills and three total blocks. Redshirt junior Liis Kullerkann (Keila, Estonia) added eight kills and five total blocks (one solo) for the ‘Cats.
Sophomore setter Abby Gilleland (Bull Valley, Ill.) contributed a match-high 34 assists and added seven digs, while graduate middle blocker Alexis Pinson (Phoenix, Ariz.) tallied eight total blocks and posted four kills, two service aces and hit .500 for the match.
On the back line, freshman libero/outside hitter Mallory Salis (Oak Lawn, Ill.) and sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) each notched 11 digs and a service ace for the ‘Cats. Salis also tallied four kills and hit .333.
Ohio used three kills and a service ace to build a 4-0 lead in the first set before the Falcons stormed back to tie the frame at 8-8. With the score knotted at 10, Ohio used a mini 3-0 run to move ahead 13-10, then extended the advantage to four (20-16) after a Falcons attack error. The lead ballooned to six (22-16) after a service ace from Gilleland and the Bobcats took care of business from there to win the first set, 25-17. Ohio hit .324 as a team in the frame.
Set two proved to be much more of a battle, as the Falcons posted seven of the frame’s first 11 points and led 13-9 after a kill from Lindsey Butterfield. Ohio posted three-straight points – including aces on consecutive serves from Lamberti – to knot the score at 15, but Bowling Green answered back with a 3-0 run to go back up by three (18-15). A kill from Lamberti tied the score once again (20-20) and the teams approached set point tied at 23.
From there, freshman defensive specialist Geneva Yee (Milwaukee, Wis.) subbed in and hammered down a key service ace that set up Ohio set point (24-23). After a BG attack error, Ohio took an exciting second frame, 25-23.
After the break, Ohio jumped out to a 9-5 lead in set three and stayed ahead by three at 13-10. At that point, the Bobcats rattled off six-straight points to build a six-point advantage (19-10) and Ohio increased that lead to 10 to win the third set, 25-15.
The match served as Ohio’s annual “Dig Pink” night. During Coach Theis’ six seasons in Athens, the Bobcats have raised more than $10,000 for breast cancer awareness in partnership with the Side-Out Foundation.
No. 20 Ohio now hits the road for a pair of MAC matches next week. The Bobcats play at East Division rival Kent State (8-9, 2-2) Thursday at 7 p.m. before traveling to Ypsilanti, Mich., to battle Eastern Michigan (11-7, 1-2) Saturday at 7 p.m.
DeKALB, Ill. – Behind a boisterous home crowd, the Northern Illinois volleyball team completed a 2-0 weekend Saturday at Victor E. Court with a 3-1 win over the Central Michigan Chippewas.
NIU (11-7, 3-1 MAC) shut down CMU’s (7-9, 1-3 MAC) offense with a season-high 18 blocks and limited the Chippewas to a paltry .119 attack percentage in the match.
“(It was) another really good battle,” said NIU Head Coach Ray Gooden. “Central Michigan came in a fought us really hard. We did a good job with our serving and passing for awhile. We did a really good job with our blocking all night and we had moments of a strong net presence. All in all, it was another battle that went on the positive side and it was great to finish our homestand in a positive way.”
NIU came out firing at the onset of the first set, as two 4-0 runs helped stake the Huskies an 8-1 lead against the Chippewas. CMU, though, quickly retaliated with a 6-0 run that got them within 8-7. After a service error ended the CMU threat, the Huskies built up a 14-9 advantage following kills from Mackenzie Roddy and Mary Grace Kelly, along with a Jenna Radtke-Lauren Zielinski combo block and a couple Chippewa errors. CMU once again threatened the NIU lead with a 5-1 run, but the Huskies closed the door with a 7-2 run to coast to a 25-21 opening set win.
The two sides traded points early in the second set until the Huskies edged ahead, 7-5, with a Roddy kill. On the play, though, CMU setter Danielle Thompson suffered an injury on the play, giving way to inexperienced sophomore Haley Barker. That change gave the Chippewas quite the boost offensively, as they changed a 9-7 Huskie lead to a 15-11 CMU advantage. The visitors held that edge up to set point at 24-16. Yet, the Huskies fought back with six consecutive points, which included a solo block from Sarah Angelos after Emily Paschke and Angelos teamed up for a stuff, to get within two points. The improbable rally, though, was shot down when the Chippewas got a kill to clinch the second set, 25-22, to make it one set apiece at halftime.
The Huskies put an end to the Chippewa momentum swing early in the third by racing out to a 10-3 lead courtesy of two 4-0 runs and several Chippewa errors. CMU responded with a 5-1 rally to get within 11-8. Yet, NIU stretched their lead to 17-10 and denied any Chippewa rallies en route to a 25-20 third set win. As a team, the Huskies held CMU to a .026 attack percentage in the third set by forcing 11 errors.
The Chippewas got on the Huskies from the get-go in the fourth set, staking out a quick 6-2 lead to force an NIU timeout. The Huskies moved to within two at 8-6, but a 4-1 run pushed the Chippewas out to a 12-7 lead. Though the visitors looked primed to force a fifth set, NIU forged a comeback to tie the match at 19-19 and eventually take a 20-19 lead. After CMU slid back ahead, 21-20, the two sides exchanged points until a Radtke and Paschke block gave the Huskies set and match point at 24-23, along with the serve. Things didn’t end quietly, though, as both teams combined for seven set points on their way to a 30-30 tie. After Alexis Gonzalez’s kill forced the overtime deadlock, NIU threw the dagger with a Radtke solo block and kill back-to-back to claim the set and the match.
Kelly led NIU with 11 kills on the night, while Angelos was the only other Huskie with double-digit spikes with 10. Meanwhile, Radtke finished the match with 10 blocks, while Paschke totaled nine and Angelos six. Libero Justine Schepler set a new career record for the second consecutive match with 28 digs.
The Huskies begin a four-match road trip next weekend at Toledo, as they face the Rockets Friday at 6 p.m. inside Savage Arena.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Western Michigan volleyball team shut down their cross-state rivals in a four-set knockout, with the Broncos downing the Eastern Michigan Eagles 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-22) at University Arena on Saturday. The win was the third straight for the Broncos, who improve to 10-7 overall and 3-1 in the Mid-American Conference.
Lena Oliver set the match-high with 27 digs against the Eagles, leading an effort that saw four Broncos breach double-digits in digs as individuals and the team out-dig Eastern Michigan 80-66. Freshman Alysia Baznik recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 10 kills and 17 digs, while Caroline Rose and Kaycee Acree each contributed 12 digs. Rachel Sheffer paced the Bronco offense with a team-high 14 kills, while Lexie Pawlik contributed 41 assists, six kills, eight digs, and seven blocks.
EMU took a nip-and-tuck first set by a score of 25-24 to take the early advantage in the match, but the Broncos took it to their opponents with tough serving and forced them into weaker shot attempts in the second set. The Eagles led for the early portion of the second set, at one point holding a 9-6 edge over the Broncos, but an attack error by Devon Murray gave WMU the opening it needed. Baznik and Stephenee Yancy combined for a block to give WMU a 15-13 lead in the set, and a service ace from Acree on the next point forced an EMU timeout as the Broncos had seized the momentum. THe lead reached five points when Sheffer pounded a ball down line to make it 21-16, and reached its apex a few minutes later when Ave Stout drilled a klil to make it 23-17. Stout was the one to end the set as well, notching another kill to give the Broncos a 25-20 set win.
The Broncos started out more quickly in the third set, taking the early lead on a pair of kills from Sheffer, and they never looked back en route to a 25-19 win. WMU opened the set on a 6-2 run and were the first to 10 when Pawlik and Yancy combined to block Paige Roback, making it 10-6. The closest the Eagles would get for the rest of the set was a one-point deficit after Stacey Perinar's kill made it 10-9, but the Broncos scored four straight to regain the momentum. Sheffer notched a kill late in the set to give the Broncos a 23-19 lead and force an Eagle timeout, Oliver float served an ace to force set point, and Sheffer took the set for the Broncos with a kill to make it 25-19.
Now playing with confidence and momentum, the Broncos lead for nearly the entirety of the fourth set and weathered one last late charge by the Eagles to take the match victory. Sheffer broke a 6-6 tie early in the set to put the Broncos on top, and combined with Pawlik on the very next point to block Megan Crawshaw. Oliver got her second ace of the night on the very next play to give WMU a 9-6 lead and force an EMU timeout, while Pawlik and Yancy made it a four-point match out of the break with another block. The lead reached its peak at seven points when Baznik recorded a kill to make it 17-10, and the Broncos were the first to 20 when Yancy bounced a kill at 20-15. Eastern Michigan went on to score seven of the next ten points to make it just a 23-22 edge for the Broncos, but Baznik and Stout ripped kills on back to back plays to end the threat and the match.