“Obviously no one ever wants to be in that position, but it’s something that happens regardless,” Junior Middle Blocker Marie Plitt said on Ball State Women’s Volleyball (4-0) come-from-behind 3-0 win over North Dakota State (1-2).
The Cardinals found themselves down a handful of times during their second day of competition but always found a way to reverse their fortunes and pull out the victory.
“Ideally, we don’t want to be in that position very often,” Head Coach Kelli Miller Phillips said. “I think you are kind of playing with fire if you’re constantly battling from behind and hoping that the ball swings your way at the end of the matches. I think it showed toughness that we were able to remain composed and battle back, but at the same time, we want to work to not be in that position consistently. We want to be in control the whole time. Bad things can happen when you’re constantly playing from behind.”
Ball State was well in control of its first set against the University of Northern Iowa (1-1), winning 25-16. Northern Iowa split the second set, with a 25-20 victory. The comeback began when the Cardinals found themselves down 19-15 in the third set.
“We had Megan Wielonski serving, she went on a great service run,” Miller Phillips said. “She put a ton of pressure on them serve-receive wise, and that was really the turning point in that set. They were constantly out of system, she got a couple of aces and it really put them on their heels, and that was our big comeback at that time.”
With freshman setter Megan Wielonksi serving, Ball State went on an eight-point run to win the third set, 25-20. They utilized that momentum to squeeze out a close fourth set victory, 25-23, and win the match. Graduate outside hitter Jaclyn Bulmahn was confident in her team throughout.
“The score never felt like we were going to lose,” Bulmahn said. “We brought great energy this whole weekend. It honestly never felt like we were down.”
Bulmahn led the Cardinals in kills against Northern Iowa with 14, while junior middle blocker Marie Plitt led Ball State with eight kills.
The Cardinals’ second game of the day, against the North Dakota State, was more of the same, as the teams battled back at fourth.
“It was tiring, but we just have to keep pushing through,” Plitt said. “Everyone had great energy, so I think that really helped everyone continue to do well. I think our service pressure was really good today, and we relied on that a lot.”
Though the Cardinals swept the Bison 3-0, the score difference throughout the three sets rarely grew beyond three points. Winning the first two sets by scores of 25-23 and 25-20 respectively, Ball State eventually broke down North Dakota State with a heavy 25-17 victory in the third set to finish off the match.
Bulmahn and Plitt shined for the second time Saturday, as the pair had a combined 25 kills and six blocks. Wielonski stood out for the second day in a row not only for her serving run in the third set against Northern Iowa but for boasting 36 assists in both of today’s matches, which were team and match highs.
Ball State next takes the court against Wright State in the Wright State Tournament on Friday, Sep. 3, at 7 p.m.
Contact Daniel Kehn with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kehn_daniel.