Story by Brad Potts, BGSU Student Reporter
TOLEDO, OHIO -- In the second upset of the day No. 8 Rockets upset the No. 1 Cardinals in consecutive sets (28-26, 25-19, 25-21) to advance to the semifinals.
Toledo and Ball State both came out with very high intensity in the first set, as neither team was able to take control early. A big kill by Mindy Marx gave Ball State an 8-6 lead, but they were not able to build off that as Toledo striked back. With the score 13-13, Whitney Heeres got a kill to give Ball State another small lead, but again Toledo answered right back scoring on the next point. The score remained to go back and forth, seeing Toledo have a slight 20-19 advantage, but then the Cardinals were able to tie the set. On the next point, after a long volley, Ball State was able to gain the lead on a Toledo error, but as the game had been going, the Rockets again scored right back. A kill by Catie Fredrich once again put Ball State on top, 23-22. The Cardinals then scored again on the next point giving them a late 24-22 lead. Toledo would come back and tie it at 24-24 to get the set going on a kill by Lauren Rafdal. As play continued, the score kept going back and forth as neither team could close out the game. Finally, after taking a 27-26 lead the Rockets were able to score on a Ball State error to take the set 28-26.
The Rockets came out strong in the second set with a quick 3-0 lead. Jennifer Boyd got Ball State on the board with a kill that helped give the Cardinals some momentum. They were not able to keep that momentum however as Toledo continued to have the lead throughout the early going. The Rockets continued to build on their lead in the middle of the set, taking it to a 15-8 lead. They were able to take this lead by blocking many kill attempts by the Cardinals. Toledo kept up their solid play taking their lead to 21-13 before the Cardinals got on a run to make it 21-17. Despite Ball States' attempt to get back in the set, they fell 25-19 to go behind two sets to zero.
The Midnight Blue and Gold came out strong again in the third set building a 4-2 lead over the top ranked Cardinals. While taking a 17-12 lead, the Rockets continued throughout the entire match to that point to play with very little mistakes, and would capitalize off of Ball State's mistakes. The Cardinals tried to make a comeback, getting the score to 16-18, but Toledo answered back making the score 20-16. The set remained relatively close but with Toledo holding the lead the entire time. Cassie Kleepies added a kill to make the score 23-20 to help keep the Rockets ahead. Then, to make it 24-21 Bethany Irwin tipped the ball over for the point. A kill by Lauren Rafdal ending to set and match, as Toledo won 25-21.
The Rockets will face the No. 4 Seed Northern Illinois Huskies in the semifinals tomorrow at 4:30 p.m.