Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Offices
Ball State 3, Toledo 2
TOLEDO, Ohio - - The Ball State women's volleyball team denied three Toledo match points to escape Savage Arena with a 3-2 (25-23, 25-18, 13-25, 21-25, 17-15) victory Thursday evening in a pivotal Mid-American Conference showdown.
With the win, the Cardinals improve to 12-12 (5-6 MAC) and gain a little bit of breathing room over the Rockets (8-16 / 2-9 MAC) for one of the eight slots for the upcoming 2012 MAC Tournament.
BSU entered the week holding the No. 8 slot with six matches remaining. Miami (3-7 MAC) and Kent State (3-7) remain behind the Cardinals, as do Toledo and Buffalo (2-9 MAC) who also lost this evening.
In tonight's battle with the Rockets, four Cardinals finished the match with double-digit kills led by senior outside hitter Kara Bates (Bradley, Ill./Bradley Bourbonnais Community/Maryland) 16 markers.
Junior middle hitter Mindy Marx (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven), junior outside hitter Lauren Grant (Eagan, Minn./Eastview/Cincinnati) and freshman setter/outside hitter Jenna Spadafora (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) each collected 10 kills in the win.
Bates would add 14 digs to collect her ninth kill/dig double-double of the season, while junior libero Catie Fredrich (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls) tallied a match-high 27 digs for her third consecutive match with 20-or-more digs. Freshman defensive specialist Kati Vasalakis (Yorktown, Ind./Yorktown) also turned in a strong effort in the backcourt with a career-high 12 digs.
Junior setter Jacqui Seidel (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) fell one dig shy of a double-double of her own, handing out 53 assists to go along with nine digs. Overall, she ran the Ball State offense to a .188 (63-30-176) hitting mark for the night.
Reigning MAC West Division Co-Defensive Player of the Week senior middle hitter Lisa Scott (McLean, Va./Langley/Maryland) added nine kills and a team-best four total blocks, while also serving up her first career service ace.
Four Toledo players also finished the match with double-digit kills, as Dakota Harkins and Jordan Kielty scored 16 each, while Brooke Frazer and Becca Reidy added 11 apiece. Celina Diaz collected a team-best 25 digs.
Despite losing, Toledo finished the match hitting .255 (69-22-184) and held a 13.0-6.0 edge in total blocks. BSU out-dug Toledo 78-73 and scored eight aces on the night, including three from Grant, compared to none for the Rockets.
The opening set was tight throughout, with the Cardinals and Rockets battling to a 22-22 stalemate. A block from Marx and Seidel would give BSU the next point, while a UT attack error gave the guests set point. Frazer would keep Toledo alive with a kill on the next rally, but Marx followed with a frame-winning blast at 25-23.
A pair of Seidel service aces helped the Cardinals pull out to 4-1 advantage in the second set, while an ace from Grant helped BSU surge ahead 8-2. Ball State would extend its lead to 10 points at the 19-9 mark, before winning the frame 25-18 on a Rockets' attack error.
While a kill and another ace from Grant helped Ball State play to a 3-1 lead in set three, Toledo would answer with a 14-3 run to take control of the stanza at 15-6. The Rockets went on to win the frame 25-13 on a kill from Frazer.
Toledo carried over the momentum to open the fourth game, building a 5-1 lead. However, a kill and ace from freshman Spadafora helped BSU even the set at 5-5. BSU would eventually play to a 14-10 advantage, only to see the hosts battle back and tie the score at 14.
The Rockets followed with seven of the next 10 points, moving ahead 21-17, only to have Ball State battle its way back within one at 22-21 on a UT ball handling error. Unfortunately, BSU could not hold onto the momentum following a Toledo timeout, as the hosts scored the final three points of the set to win 25-21.
The teams traded blows early in the fifth set, battling to a 6-6 deadlock. When a kill from Spadafora gave BSU a one-point edge at 7-6, the Rockets responded with three straight markers to force a Cardinals' timeout at 9-7.
Toledo looked poised to win the set with a 13-10 lead, but Ball State battled back thanks in part to kills from Marx, Bates and Spadafora to tie the score at 14-14. A kill from Parys would give the hosts one more chance to win the set up 15-14, but the Cardinals managed to escape with the set (17-15) and match (3-2) victory thanks to consecutive kills from Marx, Scott and Spadafora.
The Ball State women's volleyball team returns to action Saturday, when it travels to Buffalo for a 7:30 p.m. first serve against the Bulls.
Akron 3, Buffalo 0
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University of Akron volleyball team made a statement Thursday night, making their presence in the Mid-American Conference known by locking up its third straight win with a dramatic shut out of Buffalo on the road, 25-20, 25-15, 25-23.
The victory marks UA's seventh shut out this season, its second of the year against UB.
Chelsea Harvey, though recognized as the MAC East Division Defensive Player of the Week, put on a spectacular offensive show en route to a double-double. The senior outside hitter picked up 10 digs while leading the Zips with 12 kills and zero errors in 21 attempts to hit an impressive .571.
Setter Morgan Kuhn matched Harvey's clip throwing down four kills of her own without an error to go along with 29 assists and 10 digs.
Tina Dimitrijevs surpassed 1,000 kills for her career with eight on the night, needing just seven heading into the match to reach the milestone.
The Zips' offense attacked early and often, laying the groundwork in the first set by jumping out to a 6-2 advantage. The Bulls fought to tie the score at eight and again at nine, but it would not take long after that for Akron to distance itself and maintain the lead, scoring on four consecutive plays to finish the opening period.
UA hit .324 as a team in the second set and never trailed after the first play of the game, dominating the floor and leading by as many as nine before handily finishing off round two.
The tables turned in the third set, and before long it looked like almost a guarantee that the match would need at least four sets to be decided. The score tied a total of 12 times and the lead bounced back and forth another five times until late in the game.
Down by five at 22-17, the Zips picked up some momentum from a Buffalo service error on the following play. That momentum would quickly snowball into a remarkable 8-1 Akron run that would be enough to see the Zips through to victory. Buffalo called two timeouts during that stretch but could not find an answer to the Akron's relentless front line. Dimitrijevs, Harvey and Alex Cocklin all chipped in scores and teamed up to force the Bulls into three hitting errors.
On the heels of a three match win streak, Akron (13-10, 6-5 MAC) is above .500 in league play for the first time this season since being 1-0 after its conference-opening win over Buffalo the first time around.
The Zips will have the day off Friday before playing host to their only remaining West Division opponent when Toledo comes to Rhodes Arena on Saturday, Oct. 27 for a 5 p.m. contest. UT (8-16, 2-9 MAC) issued a comeback that fell short in a five set loss to Ball State Thursday night.