Ball State 3, Toledo 0
MUNCIE, Ind. - - With the crowd erupting throughout the arena, a blast from freshman outside hitter Kylee Baker (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North H.S.) helped the Ball State women's volleyball team clinch a 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-19) victory over Toledo and the outright 2010 Mid-American Conference Regular Season Championship Thursday evening at Worthen Arena.
The Cardinals, who improved to 23-4 (13-2 MAC), earn the program's eighth MAC Regular Season title and first since the 2002 season. Ball State also remains a perfect 11-0 in home matches this season, and extends its overall homecourt winning streak to 14 dating back to last season. Toledo falls to 10-16 (5-10 MAC) with the loss.
"This is a great night for Ball State University and our volleyball program," said BSU first-year head coach Steve Shondell. "We are really excited to end the drought of hanging a volleyball banner in this arena. I am really proud of the girls not only for how they played tonight, but how hard they have worked to get to this point. I am really excited for the University to win a MAC Championship."
While Baker smashed the eventual match-winner, it was the play of fellow freshman middle blocker Mindy Marx (Grand Haven, H.S./Grand Haven Mich.) which sparked the Cardinals to outright MAC title. Marx tied for match-high honors with a career-best 12 kills, while hitting for a career-high .588 (12-2-17) rate of success. She also finished the night with a career-high and match-best five total blocks.
"Everything Mindy did tonight seemed to turn to gold," added Shondell. "They could not stop her offensively and she blocked a lot of balls. She played like she is capable of playing tonight. I think she caught Toledo a little off guard, they were not expecting a match like that from her."
Junior middle blocker Kelsey Brandl (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North H.S.) also turned in a strong effort for the Cardinals, tying Marx for match-high honors with 12 kills, while adding a .632 (12-0-19) hitting mark. She also tallied three blocks to help BSU hold an 11 to 0 advantage in team blocks for the night.
Junior setter Brittany McGinnis (Fraser, Mich./Fraser H.S.) guided the Cardinals' offense to a .358 (46-8-106) rate of success for the night, while handing out 38 assists and collecting nine digs. She also tallied three kills and a block.
Rounding out BSU's top attackers were junior right side hitter Jennifer Boyd (Evans City, Pa./Seneca Valley H.S.) and Baker. Boyd collected eight kills and a .412 (8-1-17) hitting mark, while Baker blasted seven markers to go along with eight digs.
In the backcourt, senior libero Alyssa Rio (Wayne, Ill./St. Francis H.S.) added a match-best 21 digs to help the Cardinals hold a 60 to 44 edge in the category for the match.
Lauren Rafdal paced the Toledo offense with 12 kills. As a team, the Cardinals limited the Rockets to a .147 (34-17-116) hitting effort. UT libero Katie Westerfeld added a team-high 14 digs.
The Ball State women's volleyball team closes out the 2010 regular season Saturday with a 7 p.m. first serve against Akron. BSU will honor its five-member senior class which includes Rio, Hannah Sullivan (New Albany, Ind./New Albany H.S.), Karin Caudill (Selma, Ind./Burris Laboratory School), Charde' Phillips (Elyria, Ohio/Elyria H.S.) and Alexis Shonkwiler (Marion, Ind./Eastbrook H.S.) who is electing to graduate on time instead of using her final year of eligibility.
Buffalo 3, Akron 2
Akron, Ohio - The University of Akron volleyball team dropped a five set contest (25-17, 21-25, 25-19, 24-26, 5-15) to Buffalo on Thursday evening in the final regular season home match of the 2010 season. Akron falls to 15-12 overall and 7-8 in the Mid-American Conference as the Bulls move to 17-14 and 5-10 in MAC play.
Up two sets to Buffalo's one, Akron posted a 11-6 lead to start the fourth but a determined UB squad would keep pushing eventually tying the set at the 21 mark. Two kills from redshirt freshman Alex Wiederholt would put UA back up but Buffalo would return the action to keep the set tied at 23. A follow up Bulls kill would give UB its first lead of the set (23-24) prompting an Akron timeout. Freshman Alex Cocklin came out the break with a big kill to even it up (24-24) but two consecutive kills from Buffalo's Abby Niekemp pushed the teams to the deciding set.
In the fifth set, the Bulls proved to be too much for UA as they would come out swinging a .385 hitting percentage holding UA to a -.235 mark. Tied at 4-4, the Bulls would go on a six point swing which included forcing four UA errors. A kill from junior Tina Dimitrijevs would be the Zips final point as Buffalo went on for the 15-5 win.
Despite the loss, Akron had a strong night at the net grabbing 14 blocks. Dimitrijevs led the attack posting seven block assists along with one solo. Wiederholt followed posting five block assists. Dimitrijevs and Wiederholt also led UA offensively with 15 and 11 kills respectively.
Three Zips finished in double-figure digs in sophomore Chelsea Harvey (17), junior Courtney Jarvis \ (15) and sophomore Morgan Kuhn (10).
Akron will close out the regular season on Saturday (Nov. 13) traveling to Ball State for a 7:00 p.m. contest.