Ball State Women’s Volleyball (12-3, 2-1 MAC) and Ohio University (1-12, 1-2 MAC) had a difference in records before meeting on Thursday evening. In spite of their record, head coach Kelli Miller Phillips believed that the Bobcats were a better team than they look on paper.
“They are a good team,” Miller Phillips said. “Their record is way different than what they actually are on the court.”
The Cardinals endured ups and downs against Ohio, winning the first set, 25-19, before losing the next two sets 25-22 and 25-20. After winning the fourth set 25-20, the Cardinals needed an extra point to win the fifth set 16-14, winning the match in the process.
“Well, that was a unique [match],” Miller Phillips said. “I did not think that we really played in rhythm until the very very last couple points, luckily we toughed it out. That was a hard-fought win. Ohio was unbelievable defensively, their two left sides [were] just scoring at will. That’s a sneaky one for us.”
Freshman setter Megan Wielonski felt that out-surviving the opponent became a toss-up when the fifth set started, but the pressure that the Cardinals brought was vital.
“I think volleyball is such a mental game,” Wielonski said. “Going to five sets, it could really go either way… Keeping those leads [is important], we were up 10-7 in that fifth set. Just keeping that pressure on them.”
Wielonski led the Cardinals in assists with 43, while junior outside hitter Natalie Risi topped the team with 13 digs.
Ball State had four players hitting double-digit kills on the attacking side of the ball with sophomore middle blocker Lauren Gilliland leading with 13, junior middle blocker Marie Plitt contributing 12 and graduate student outside hitter Emily Hollowell and graduate student outside hitter Jaclyn Bulmahn both smashing 11.
“We started out a little shaky, but we figured it out at the end,” Plitt said. “A lot of [the errors] are our errors that we made. Focusing on our side of the net tomorrow is going to be key to our success.
The Cardinals will play the same Ohio team tomorrow, and Phillips believed that changes are needed before the rematch.
“We have got to slow down their left sides,” Miller Phillps said. “Every time they were swinging [they] were scoring. We have to do a better job of defending at the net and in the backcourt.”
The Cardinals will go up against Ohio in the second match of a doubleheader on Friday, Oct. 1 at 6:30 PM in Worthen Arena.
Contact Daniel Kehn with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kehn_daniel.