Courtesy of Home MAC Athletic Communcations Departments
Ball State 3, Central Michigan 0
Ohio 3, Akron 0
Kent State 3, Buffalo 0
Toledo 3, Eastern Michigan 1
MUNCIE, Ind. - - The first-place Ball State women’s volleyball team turned in one of its best performances of the season in a dominating 3-0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-12) sweep of Mid-American Conference West Division foe Central Michigan Friday night at Worthen Arena.
In improving to 21-5 (9-2 MAC), the Cardinals picked up their second straight win over the Chippewas (11-12/5-6 MAC) by never trailing in a match which also only saw four ties. East Division leader Ohio kept pace with Ball State in the race for the MAC crown, improving to 9-2 in league action with a sweep of Akron.
“We had fantastic defense tonight,” said Ball State head coach Steve Shondell. “This team realizes we’re at clinch time in conference play. Every match, they have to come out ready to go, because if you don’t, you are going to pay the price.”
For the third consecutive match, senior opposite Lauren Grant (Eagan, Minn./Eastview/Cincinnati) paved the way for the Ball State offense, racking up a match-best 11 kills while hitting for a .500 (11-2-18) rate of success. Grant has smashed double-figure kills in each of the last three matches, including a career-best 17 last Friday versus Bowling Green.
“Lauren Grant has become our go-to player with both Fuelling and Kitchel unable to play,” said Shondell about the senior’s play of late. “The last few matches, Lauren has taken her game to the level I always knew she was capable of reaching, and we thank her for it.”
Senior outside hitter Kylee Baker (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) blasted double-digit kills for the third consecutive match with 10. She also logged seven digs, a service ace and a solo block.
Redshirt sophomore Kelly Hopkins (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo) also turned in a strong outing, blasting eight kills and hitting a career-best .429 (8-2-14) despite starting on the left side for the first time in her career. Hopkins, who normally plays opposite or in the middle, also collected a pair of digs.
Rounding out Ball State’s top attackers was redshirt sophomore middle Hayley Benson (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Bradley), who recorded eight kills and a .412 (8-1-17) attack percentage.
Senior setter Jacqui Seidel (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) guided the Ball State offense to a .356 (45-13-90) rate of success in the victory, which is the team’s third-best effort of the season. After a slow start in the opening set, the Cardinals offense connected for a .452 (17-3-31) effort in the second and a .611 (13-2-18) mark in the third. Seidel finished the night with 36 assists, five digs and a pair of block assists.
In the Ball State backcourt, senior libero Catie Fredrich (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls) led all players with 15 digs. Overall, the BSU defense out-dug the Chippewas, 42-30.
In addition, the Cardinals attack limited the league’s top defender entering the match, CMU’s Jenna Coates, to just nine digs. Katie Schuette paced the Central Michigan attack, which was limited to a .154 (28-14-91) attack percentage, with 10 kills.
The Cardinals opened the match with kills from Baker and Grant, on their way to an early 8-3 advantage. With Ball State leading 12-5, the Chippewas block came to life with three stuffs over the next four rallies to bring the score to 12-9. However, the Cardinals countered with a four-point run of their own, which included a pair of Baker kills, to reclaim the seven-point lead at 16-9.
Ball State cruised from there, winning the set 25-16 on a service ace from freshman defensive specialist Nikki Box (Yorktown, Ind./Yorktown).
Grant opened the second set with back-to-back blasts to help the Cardinals pull out to a quick 4-1 edge. CMU scored the next two points, only to see Ball State rattle off four of the next five to make the score 8-4. The Cardinals carried the momentum from there, building a 10-point cushion at 18-8 before easily winning the set 25-14 on a smash from Baker.
After the teams traded the first six point of the third set, a CMU service error followed by an ace from sophomore defensive specialist Kati Vasalakis (Yorktown, Ind./Yorktown) helped Ball State pull ahead 7-3 and force a Chippewas timeout. Vasalakis posted another ace after the break and CMU was forced to call its second timeout trailing 13-5.
Ball State pulled ahead by 10 points for the first time in the set off a Baker kill at 16-6, while sophomore setter Jenna Spadafora (Fort Wayne, Ill./Carroll) served up a match-capping ace at 25-12 in her lone touch of the ball in the match.
The Ball State women’s volleyball team returns to action Saturday, when it celebrates senior night with a 7 p.m. first serve versus Eastern Michigan. Prior to the start of the match, Ball State will honor its five-member senor class which includes Baker, Fredrich, Grant, Seidel and senior middle Mindy Marx (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven).
ATHENS, Ohio – Behind stellar back row performances from sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) and freshman outside hitter/libero Mallory Salis (Oak Lawn, Ill.), the Ohio University volleyball team (19-4, 9-2) dispatched of visiting Akron (6-16, 0-11) in straight sets (25-14, 25-17, 25-13) Friday evening inside the Convocation Center.
Ashy averaged 8.3 digs/set en route to a 25-dig performance – her career best in a three set match – while Salis notched a career-high 14.5 points on 12 kills, two aces and a block assist. Salis also hit a solid .393 on the night.
The Bobcats hit .366 overall and limited Akron to just a .116 clip, including a -.025 mark in the third set. Ohio held a sizable 58-38 advantage in total points for the match and tied a season high with nine aces in the contest.
Freshman outside hitter Katie Horton (Westland, Mich.) knocked down eight kills and four total blocks while hitting .304, and sophomore middle blocker Karin Bull (Bloomington, Minn.) paced the ‘Cats with five total blocks (one solo) on the night.
Redshirt junior Liis Kullerkann (Keila, Estonia) tallied nine kills and hit a blistering .467 in the match, while sophomore setter Abby Gilleland (Bull Valley, Ill.) tallied a match-high 33 assists to go along with four kills and five digs.
Freshman defensive specialist Geneva Yee (Milwaukee, Wis.) provided a spark for Ohio on the back row with a career-best six digs and two service aces against the Zips.
The Bobcats posted 10 of the match’s first 14 points and led by nine (18-9) in the first set after a kill from Kullerkann. Ohio took its largest lead after tallying set point on a kill from Katie Horton to take the frame, 25-14.
In set two, the two teams played to an 11-11 tie, before Yee helped fuel a 5-0 run by the ‘Cats that included two aces and some key digs for the freshman on the back row. Akron cut the lead to two at 17-15, but Ohio posted the next two points, then closed the set on a 5-0 run to win it, 25-17.
After the break, Ohio and Akron were knotted at eight in set three, before the Bobcats ripped off a 9-1 run to build an eight-point lead (17-9). Ohio went up by 12 (22-10) on a kill from Salis and took the frame, 25-13, after another kill from the freshman sealed the match victory.
Ohio is now a perfect 11-0 in three set matches this season.
The Bobcats wrap up their two-match homestand tomorrow night at 7 p.m. with a matchup against Buffalo (16-8, 4-7) inside the Convo.
KENT, Ohio – The Kent State volleyball team earned a hard-fought victory over Buffalo, 3-2 (25-22, 26-24, 14-25, 17-25, 15-11) in a Mid-American Conference matchup Friday evening at the M.A.C. Center. The Golden Flashes (11-13, 5-6) won the first two sets and prevented the comeback by taking the fifth and deciding set.
"Our girls grinded one out tonight," said head coach Don Gromala. "They out-performed us in every stat but we found a way to get the victory. Tonight, we went back to taking care of those critical points in those close sets. It's a tough time of the year and this was a very critical match for us as a program to get to the MAC Tournament."
Junior Lauren Engleman posted a career-high 13 kills to lead Kent State on offense. The Flashes featured a balanced attack throughout the match, as Liz Reikow (11), Bridget Wilhelm (11), Kelly Hutchison (10) and Tinuke Aderemi-Ibitola (10) joined her with double-digit kills.
The match opened with two highly-competitive sets, and the Flashes found a way to come out on top in both. A total of 23 ties and 11 lead changes occurred in those two sets. After Kent State won the opening set, Buffalo was in position to even the match with a 24-23 lead. Reikow had different ideas, however. The 6'6" middle blocker tied the score with a kills, teamed with Engleman on a block and finished it off with a kill to go up 2-0.
Coming out of the intermission, Buffalo looked like a different team. The Bulls led pretty much wire-to-wire in both sets and seemed to steal momentum from its host, winning sets 3 and 4 by 11 and 8 points, respectively.
The Flashes caught fire when it mattered most, totaling 10 kills and a .409 attack percentage in winning the fifth set. Engleman, Aderemi-Ibitola and Hutchison delivered three kills apiece in that deciding set.
"We came out really well in set 5, and that was the difference," Gromala said. "I think it shows a lot about their determination and just their focus on what they want to accomplish."
Senior Aleksandra Nowak recorded a match-best 44 assists to lead the Kent State offense. Junior Kaylee Koller led the defense with 13 digs and Hutchison added 10 for her third double-double of the year.
Kent State is back in action Saturday night when it hosts rival Akron at the M.A.C. Center. The match begins at 7 p.m. with the winner receiving a half-point towards this year's PNC Wagon Wheel Challenge. The Flashes earned a thrilling 3-2 victory in the first meeting of the year between the schools.
TOLEDO, OH – Toledo extended its win streak to a season-high four matches and maintained its perfect home record in Mid-American Conference play with a 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-19, 25-16) triumph over Eastern Michigan on Friday evening in Savage Arena. The victory kept the Rockets (15-10, 8-3 MAC) a game behind first-place Ball State in the MAC’s West Division.
Senior OH Lauren Rafdal spearheaded a balanced UT attack with 18 kills with senior MB
Dakota Harkins tying her career high with 16 kills to go along with an impressive .500 attack percentage. Junior MB Brooke Frazer also was nearly as efficient with a .429 hitting mark and matched her season best with 10 terminations.
Senior RSH Becca Reidy also reached double digits with 11 kills to go along with 12 digs. It marked her third straight double-double and seventh of the season.
Freshman libero Ellen Hays topped Toledo’s back-row defensive efforts with a match-best 26 digs. Joining Hays in double figures were senior S Adria Pryor (15 digs), Rafdal (14 digs), senior OH Jordan Kielty (14 digs) and Reidy.
Harkins also made her presence felt at the net with a team-high four blocks, while Pryor tallied 58 assists and led UT to a .250 team attack percentage.
Sophomore OH Stacey Perinar led the Eagles with 11 kills, while senior OH Paige Roback contributed 10 kills.
The opening set was a back-and-forth affair that featured nine ties and four lead changes. UT trailed 19-17 before going on a 7-1 spurt for a 24-20 advantage. Kielty closed out the set with her fifth kill of the match.
Set 2 was even tighter as the Rockets and Eagles were tied on 15 occasions. EMU broke free late with six straight points to take a 23-17 lead. UT rallied to within 24-22 following a Harkins kill but Perinar ended the comeback bid with her team-best four kill of the stanza.
The Eagles carried that momentum into Set 3 and looked to be in control when they assumed a 15-9 cushion. A Harkins’ kill and block ignited a six-point Rocket scoring burst to even the set at 15-15. Rafdal then blasted three straight kills for a 20-17 lead and UT never looked back.
The Rockets controlled much of the final set and never trailed after taking an early 5-2 lead.
Toledo registered its best hitting mark in the set with a .341 mark with Harkins leading the way with a .600 clip (6-0-10).
UT will close out its 2013 home campaign tomorrow afternoon with a 3:00 p.m. meeting vs. Central Michigan. The Chippewas dropped a 3-0 decision tonight at Ball State.