MUNCIE, Ind. - - The Ball State women’s volleyball team opened a five-match homestand with a 3-1 (25-23, 25-23, 14-25, 25-19) setback to Bowling Green Friday night at Worthen Arena.
Despite the loss, the Cardinals remain tied with both the Falcons and Ohio, who beat Northern Illinois 3-1 this evening, for first place in the Mid-American Conference standings with 7-2 league marks. Ball State is now 19-5 on the year, while Bowling Green improves to 11-10.
Senior opposite Lauren Grant (Eagan, Minn./Eastview/Cincinnati) led the Ball State attack with 17 kills, while hitting a match-best .419 (17-4-31) as Ball State’s go-to hitter for the night.
Senior outside hitter Kylee Baker (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) also had a strong night, posting her fourth double-double of the season with 12 kills and 10 digs.
At the net, the Cardinals collected 14.5 total blocks with senior middle Mindy Marx (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven) posting seven (two solo and six assists) and senior setter Jacqui Seidel (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) adding six block assists.
Despite missing two of the team’s top outside hitters due to injury, Seidel set the Ball State offense a .185 (55-26-157) attack percentage for the night. Seidel would finish the match with her eighth double-double of the season, posting 50 assists and 11 digs to go along with her six blocks.
Sophomore Jenna Spadafora (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) added eight kills and three total blocks (two solo and one assist) in her first appearance on the left side this season. She also hit .222 (8-4-18) for the match.
In the backcourt, senior libero Catie Fredrich (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls) tied for match-high honors with 16 digs.
Bowling Green’s Jelena Sunjic led all players with 18 kills, while Paige Penrod collected 15. Libby Dachenhaus and Ashley Dunn would tie with Fredrich for match-high honors with 16 digs apiece.
The Falcons offense connected for a .199 (53-23-151) rate of success behind Yorktown graduate Laura Avila who dished out 38 assists, tallied six digs and posted a pair of block assists. Avila, a senior on the BGSU squad, is also the daughter of former Ball State men’s volleyball letterwinner Ramon Avila who is a George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Marketing and the founding director of the HH Gregg Center for Professional Selling at Ball State University.
After falling behind 8-5 in the opening set, the Cardinals rallied back to even the score at 9-9 and eventually took a 17-12 lead. Unfortunately, Bowling Green responded with a seven-point run to regain control of the set. Trailing 23-20, the Cardinals used a kill from Grant and a block to pull within one, but a pair of errors ultimately let the Falcons win the set 25-23.
Ball State pulled out to an early 13-10 lead in the second frame, only to see BSGU respond with six of the next seven points to pull ahead 16-14. The Falcons would claim another 23-20 lead, only to see BSU battle back within one at 23-22 on kills from Spadafora and Seidel. Like the first set, unfortunately, BGSU would score two of the next three points to win the frame 25-23.
With Ball State holding a slim 11-10 edge in the third frame, a kill from Spadafora sparked a 6-0 Cardinals run, making the score 17-10. With the Cardinals leading 23-14, Spadafora would then post back-to-back solo blocks to end the frame at 25-14.
Unfortunately, Bowling Green retaliated by scoring nine of the first 10 points in the fourth frame. Ball State would get as close as four points, at 20-16, but could not overcome the early hole, dropping the frame 25-19.
The Ball State women’s volleyball team returns to action Saturday, when it hosts Miami in a 7 p.m. showdown at Worthen Arena which will be televised locally by the Ball State Sports Network and whill also serve as the team’s “Dig Pink” match.
The Cardinals have once again teamed up with the Side-Out Foundation to raise money in the fight against breast cancer. This season, the women’s volleyball program will match gifts donated to the Side-Out Foundation up to the team’s goal of $1,000.