Ball State def. Kent State, 3-0
Bowling Green def. Eastern Michigan, 3-2
Ohio def. Toledo, 3-2
Northern Illinois def. Buffalo, 3-0
Western Michigan def. Akron, 3-1
Ball State def. Kent State, 3-0
MUNCIE, Ind. - - The Ball State women’s volleyball team rebound from a tough couple weeks with a dominating 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-22) sweep of Kent State Friday evening in Mid-American Conference cross-division play at Worthen Arena.
The victory improves the Cardinals overall record to 10-10, while its MAC mark moves to 3-4. The Golden Flashes fall to 5-14 (2-5 MAC) with the loss.
In her first career start at setter for Ball State, freshman Jenna Spadafora (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carrol H.S.) shined by dishing out a career-high 42 assists and guiding the BSU offense to a .270 (49-19-111) hitting mark. She also served up a career-best four aces while tying a career-high with six digs. Spadafora had been playing on the left side for the Cardinals past five matches.
Leading the way for the Ball State offense for the third consecutive match was senior transfer middle hitter Lisa Scott (McLean, Va./Langley/Maryland) with a match-best 13 kills. Scott also finished the night with a .500 (13-2-22) attack percentage, marking the third consecutive match she has hit .500-or-better.
Senior outside hitter Kara Bates (Bradley, Ill./Bradley Bourbonnais Community/Maryland) added her third consecutive double-double with 11 kills and 12 digs, while redshirt freshman opposite attacker Hayley Benson (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Bradley) smashed a career-high 10 kills and also hit .500 (10-1-18).
Junior libero Catie Fredrich (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls) added a team-best 13 digs for the Cardinals.
Tinuke Aderemi-Ibitola led the Kent State offense with eight kills, while Hannah Herc added a match-best 16 digs.
Overall, the Ball State defense limited the Golden Flashes to a .191 (31-13-94) hitting mark for the night, while holding a 45-35 advantage in digs. BSU also out-aced KSU 5-4, while Kent State held a 7.0-3.0 edge in team blocks.
The Cardinals scored four of the first five points in the opening set, and maintained a 7-3 edge before the guests rallied back to tie the score at 9-9. Three KSU miscues and a block from Scott and junior outside attacker Lauren Grant (Eagan, Minn./Eastview/Cincinnati) helped BSU rattle off the next four points and gain back control of the set. From there, the Cardinals cruised to a 25-19 set victory, capped by a blast from Scott.
The tables turned early in the second set, with Kent State pulling out to a 4-1 edge. BSU would then battle back and tie the score at 9-9, and from there, the teams played to an 18-18 stalemate. Two KSU attack errors followed by kills from Benson and Scott turned the tide, however, as BSU scored seven of the final nine points to win the frame 25-20 on another Scott kill.
Ball State stepped on the accelerator early in the third frame, building an 8-3 lead, only to see Kent State fight back and eventually tie the score at 17-all. A kill from Bates would give BSU the serve, and Spadafora took the ball back and ripped a pair of aces to help the hosts pull ahead 23-17. Kent State managed to score five of the next six points, only to have Benson end the set at 25-22 with her 10th kill of the night.
The Ball State women’s volleyball team returns to action Saturday at 7:30 p.m., when it hosts Ohio in a homecoming showdown at Worthen Arena.
Bowling Green def. Eastern Michigan, 3-2
Ypsilanti, Mich. – Lindsey Butterfield had five of her career-high 21 kills in the fifth set and the Bowling Green volleyball team rallied from two sets down to remain undefeated in Mid-American Conference play with a 26-28, 22-25, 25-13, 25-20, 15-11 win over Eastern Michigan Friday evening on the road. The Falcons hold onto sole possession of first place in the MAC at 7-0, while the Eagles drop to 3-4 in conference play.
Bowling Green won its eighth consecutive match, pulling out each of the past three contests in five sets. However, this was the first time the Falcons had won a match after losing the first two sets since 2009, when the team did the same against Northern Illinois.
The Falcons battled back with another strong defensive effort, posting more than 100 digs for the second consecutive match. BGSU held a 101-82 edge in digs and that came after getting outdug in the opening frame by three. Ashley Dunn led the way with 28 digs but five different players had at least 10. It was Dunn’s third consecutive match with at least 25 digs, becoming the first Falcon in more than 14 years to do that.
The Bowling Green offense was also a huge catalyst to the comeback. After hitting just .133 in the first set and .200 in the second, the Falcons hit at least .300 in each of the final three sets, including a sizzling .429 in the fifth. Butterfield and Paige Penrod each had 21 kills and Danielle Tonyan added 16. Leah Shaw and Kari Galen added five more each.
“This was one of the greatest comebacks that I have experienced as a coach,” BGSU Head Coach Danijela Tomic said. “Our team showed so much character and heart and found a way to win our third consecutive five-set match.”
BGSU struggled early and fell behind 23-17 in the first set. Despite a 7-0 run that gave the Falcons a 24-23 lead, Eastern Michigan rebounded and eventually put the opening set away 28-26. The Eagles used that momentum, combined with a 12-2 run early in the second, to take a 25-22 win in the second.
“Eastern Michigan had a great game plan against us in the first two sets,” Tomic said. “It took us a while to make all of the necessary adjustments. Once we started playing our style of volleyball, aggressive and efficient, we were able to turn the match around.”
The Falcons appeared to be reeling and were heading towards their first conference loss of the year, but the team used the break after the second set to recover. BGSU never trailed by more than one point the rest of the match and dominated statistically throughout.
Bowling Green had 17 kills in the third set and just two attack errors as the Falcons were in control throughout, pulling away 25-13. With momentum back on its side, BGSU cruised through the fourth set, leading by as many as 10 before a late Eastern Michigan rally made the final score 25-20.
Butterfield took over in the fifth set, posting five kills, three of which came on the Falcons’ final four points. BGSU led 10-9 when Butterfield sparked a three-point run on a kill and pushed Bowling Green ahead 13-9 with another. At 13-10, she picked up her 21st kill of the match and an Eastern Michigan service error gave Bowling Green the 15-11 victory.
Laura Avila handed out 55 assists, the fifth time in the past 12 matches that she has dished out at least 50, while Tonyan had a career-best 18 digs.
Eastern Michigan drops to 13-10 with the loss and Bowling Green improves to 12-7. The Falcons take the momentum of the victory into a huge match with conference championship implications Saturday night. With a 7-0 MAC record, the Falcons will play at West Division leader Central Michigan, 6-1 in MAC play, at 7 p.m.
Ohio def. Toledo, 3-2
TOLEDO, OH – Toledo came up just short in a matchup of two of the Mid-American Conference’s top blocking teams in a 3-2 (27-29, 25-19, 23-25, 25-22, 15-9) setback to Ohio (11-8, 6-1 MAC) on Friday evening in Savage Arena.
Junior OH Lauren Rafdal paced the Rockets (7-12, 1-6 MAC) with 17 kills and 18 digs for her second double-double in the last three matches. Senior OH Sondra Parys (13 kills) and junior MB Dakota Harkins (12 kills) also were in double figures with Harkins garnering a match-best nine blocks.
Senior libero McCall Paynter spearheaded UT’s defensive efforts in the back row with 24 digs and was joined in double figures by Rafdal and junior S Adria Pryor (14 digs).
Sophomore OH Kelly Lamberti and sophomore OH Chelsea Bilger powered the Bobcats offensively with24 and 21 kills, respectively. Freshman libero Meredith Ashy was Ohio’s defensive leader with a match-best 29 digs.
The Bobcats registered slight advantages in blocks (16-13) and digs (81-76) and also outhit the Rockets by a .231-.161 margin.
Toledo fought off a pair of Ohio set points in Set 1 and gained the win thanks to a Lamberti attack error, a Parys kill and a block from Pryor and Rafdal. Set 2 saw the Bobcats jump out to a 12-6 advantage before UT chipped away to with 18-16 following a Rafdal kill and back-to-back terminations from sophomore MB Brooke Frazer. That was as close as UT would come though as Ohio evened the match at 1-1.
Toledo led early in Set 3 before the Bobcats rallied to tie the score at 16-16 with five straight points. The teams then traded points until UT took a 23-21 lead. Ohio quickly answered to even the score, but the Rockets won the set on a Parys kill and block from Harkins and junior OH Becca Reidy.
The fourth set was tight throughout with the Ohio breaking away from the Rockets with a three-point spurt on two Lamberti kills and a block from freshman MB Karin Bull and Lamberti to take a 22-19 lead. UT answered with kills from Frazer and Rafdal but couldn’t net the equalizer.
Ohio controlled the final set from the start by surging to a 6-1 lead. Toledo was able to reduce its deficit to three points on three different occasions but wasn’t able to come any closer.
Toledo is back in action on Saturday evening when it hosts Kent State at 5:00 p.m. The Golden Flashes (5-14, 2-5 MAC) suffered a 3-0 setback at Ball State (10-10, 3-4 MAC) tonight.