By Dane Massey | Sports Link
MUNCIE, Ind — Ball State Women’s Volleyball return home with their heads held high after going 5-1 in two road tournaments to open up the season.
In their first tournament in Tampa, the Cardinals put up some fights dropping four sets overall in the tournament. Ball State handled South Alabama and William and Mary University in four sets with senior middle blocker Marie Plitt leading in kills for the Cardinals, putting up 13 kills against South Alabama and 16 against William and Mary. Plitt also led the team in blocks against the Tribe with two. Senior libero and defensive specialist Maggie Huber led the Cardinals in digs for both games with a combined 32 digs.
Against UCF however, things went a little different. The Bulls gave the Cardinals a challenge taking the match to a fifth set. Even in that fifth set, UCF would go down fighting only losing the set 15-13. The Cardinals would take the match 3-2. Senior outside hitter Addie Halverson led the way for the Cardinals in kills with 19, while the Cardinals defensively out-blocked the Bulls 14-9.
Last weekend, the Cardinals finished their road trip with their next stop being Nashville to play in the LUV Invitational. The Cardinals dominated both Oklahoma, and the home team Lipscomb, losing just one set in both matches combined.
However, the Cardinals suffered their first loss of the year, in a winner take all match against Mississippi State in three sets. The Bulldogs are receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll and are just outside the top 25.
While Ball State did lose its first match of the season last weekend, the Cardinals are still one of the nation’s top teams based on winning percentage. Ball State ranks 33rd nationally with its .833 winning percentage. Last season, the Cardinals tied for fourth nationally with 30 overall wins, while its program record .882 winning percentage ranked eighth.
After going a perfect 13-0 at home last season, the Cardinals look to continue the home stand as Arkansas State (5-1), Alabama (4-2), and Green Bay (3-3) travel to Muncie to play in the Ball State Tournament.
After the weekend tournament, the Cardinals will take on Atlantic 10 powerhouse Dayton on Tuesday. The Flyers have advanced to the last four NCAA Tournaments, including two straight trips to the round of 32.
Ball State is 9-11 all-time versus its next four opponents, with the Cardinals facing Arkansas State for the first time in Women’s Volleyball. Ball State posts an astounding 78-36 (.684) all-time record against non-conference opponents at home, following with a 294-93 (.760) all-time record inside Worthen Arena.
Ball State’s offense continues to pace the MAC, and ranks 39th nationally, with a .277 team attack percentage. The Cardinals have hit .250-or-better in five of its six matches this season, including two marks above .300. The Cardinals finished the 2021 season with a program record .265 team attack percentage, which ranked 23rd among the 321 NCAA Division I women’s volleyball programs.
Matches against Arkansas State (this Friday at 10 a.m.), Alabama (this Friday at 8 p.m.), and Dayton (Tuesday Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.) will be streaming on ESPN+. Follow @BallStateWVB & @bsusportslink for more updates.