Ball State Women's Volleyball swept Northern Illinois for the second match in a row by scores of 25-14, 25-14 and 25-23 on Oct. 16, and the Cardinals' focus will now be on a trio of divisional matchups next week.
The win over Northern Illinois marks the seventh in a row for Ball State and junior middle blocker Marie Plitt, who had six kills and four blocks against the Huskies, said that there is time for celebration, but the Cardinals quickly go “right back after it, getting our work in.”
“We’ve got some big games coming up so we’re excited to get some more competition,” junior middle blocker Marie Plitt said.
The Cardinals were anchored in kills by graduate student outside hitter Jaclyn Bulmahn with 11 and junior outside hitter Natalie Mitchem with nine. In the backcourt, freshman setter Megan Wielonski delivered a team-high 34 assists for Ball State, and junior defensive specialist Maggie Huber had 14 digs.
Head coach Kelli Miller Phillips said that the pressure on the team should be normal at the high level the Cardinals are competing at and in order to get through three tough matches next week, the team needs to “just take it one at a time.”
“The position we are trying to put ourselves in to be a championship team, this is just the norm,” Miller Phillips said. “You’ve got to be able to approach every match with the same type of pressure regardless if you won the one before or lost.”
The Cardinals face off against Toledo on Oct. 19 before traveling to Kalamazoo, Mich to play two matches against Western Michigan. The Broncos are currently second in the Mid-American Conference West Division, one match behind Ball State, while Toledo sits third.
“Next week’s going to be a big one,” Phillips said. “Toledo, who’s also playing really hot, we bring them in here on Tuesday before we go to Western. So we have three really big divisional matchups, part of that is going to be our recovery and how quickly that we can turn things around and the second part is just continuing to do us… We have to play hard on our side and just take care of us.”
Wielonski said that it will come down to which team is playing at the top of their game right now and who is focusing on the Cardinal side of the court.
“It will be such a great week, we’re really looking forward to it,” Wielonski said. “Playing gritty defense [and] staying loaded at the net for our blockers… playing our game and staying focused.”
The Cardinals will be at Worthen Arena on Tuesday, Oct. 19 where they will go up against MAC West Division rivals Toledo.
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