Ball State (4-3, 0-0 MAC) began the Northern Kentucky Tournament with its first road win of the season over Northern Kentucky (4-2, 0-0 Horizon League) Friday night. The Cardinals’ victory did not come easy as they dropped the first two sets of the match, 25-18 in set one and 25-19 in set two.
In set one, the Norse offense and defense were major factors as they outscored the Cardinals 16 kills to nine and four blocks to one. Ball State gained more headway in the second set with one more kill than Northern Kentucky, but the Cardinals’ nine combined attack and service errors were their difference.
“They were tough in those first two sets,” head coach Kelli Miller Phillips. “They were good offensively with their attacks and put a lot of pressure on us defensively.”
After dropping the first two sets, Ball State fought back, winning the third and fourth sets, 26-24 and 25-23, respectively. Northern Kentucky was not as sharp as they were start out the match with 20 combined service and attack errors. The Cardinals were able to take advantage, which helped them tie the match at two sets apiece heading into the fifth set.
The Norse were unable to overcome the Cardinals’ momentum as the Cardinals took the fifth and final set, 15-9, to earn a 3-2 match victory.
“Tonight’s match just showed how resilient we are and that we can win these tough matches,” Miller Phillips said. “The girls just stepped up and fought back, which gives us confidence going into tomorrow playing some good teams.”
The Cardinals will continue in the Northern Kentucky Tournament with two Saturday matches against Cincinnati (5-2, 0-0 AAC) at 10 a.m. and Notre Dame (4-2, 0-0 ACC) at 5:30 p.m. to close out the night at Regents Hall.
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