Ball State Women’s Volleyball (6-6, 0-0 MAC) finished the 13th annual Active Ankle Challenge dropping it’s first match to Wright State, 3-2, and sweeping Missouri State, 3-0.
The Cardinals were tested to a full five set match early on against Wright State (10-1, 0-0 Horizon), who headed into the weekend on a nine game win streak.
The Cardinals have struggled to get off to fast start, losing set one in seven of their past nine games this year. However, Ball State would hit the ground running against the Raiders, winning set one, 25-22. Raiders would take the next two sets (25-20, 25-15). Ball State would force a decisive fifth set after a 25-20 fourth set victory. In the end, Wright State would win the fifth, 15-12, and the match
Unforced errors were a thorn in Ball State’s side as 30 errors lead to a handful of Wright State points. The Raiders also put a lot of pressure on the Cardinals’ defense, hitting 10 percent higher than the Cardinals, 23.1 to 13.5.
“Wright State was really good defensively,” head coach Kelli Miller Philips said. “Their service pressure was tough on us, and they just dug everything.”
Ball State bounced back in its final match in the tournament against Missouri State (3-11, 0-0 MVC) who has yet to win a road match this season. The Cardinals’ defense was key, this one not allowing many scoring opportunities for Missouri State.
The Cardinals go off to another strong start, winning set one 25-16 and held the Bears to under 20 points in the final two matches, winning 25-18 and 25-16. Ball State dropped their amount of errors committed against the Bears as they committed only 21 in the match to the Bears 35.
Ball State found success offensively with key freshmen stepping in the win. Freshman defensive specialist Chloe Rickenbach had over half of Ball State’s aces with six of the 11. Freshmen opposite Allison Hamaker had 12 kills and outside hitter Natalie Risi had 10.
Freshman middle blocker Mykel Ivy had five kills that came at key points in the second set to extend Ball State’s lead over Missouri State, after the Bears sparked a little momentum after back to back kills.
“We knew we could play better than we did early on,” Ivy said. “When you are playing with energy, making key plays, and working hard together, we’ll have success like we did in this match.”
The Cardinals are now back to .500 on the season at 6-6 heading into conference play with six of their next 10 matches on the road. They are 1-2 on the road this season.
“Going into the conference we got to figure out how we can play consistently for an entirety of a match,” Miller Phillips said “Once you get into the conference season you know it’s a battle every single night. We’re going to have to go on the road and play a complete game.”