INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - - The Ball State (3-3) women's volleyball team could not get past a hot North Texas (6-1) squad Saturday morning, suffering a 3-0 (25-14, 25-23, 25-20) setback to the Mean Green to open the second day of the 2012 IUPUI Hampton Inn Invitational.
"Our ball control, especially early in the match, took us out of our offense," said Ball State head coach Steve Shondell. "As the match went on our ball control got better, but North Texas played tremendous defense and would not let the ball hit the floor. We were not able to match their defensive intensity.
"Every team is going to experience adversity," continued Shondell. "When you get knocked down you have to get back up. Tonight we have a chance to go 2-1 in this tournament and share the title. We are just going to go for it."
Senior transfer middle hitter Lisa Scott (McLean, Va./Langley) led the Ball State attack with a BSU career-high nine kills, while adding a team-best three total blocks (one solo and two assists).
Senior outside hitter Kara Bates (Bradley, Ill./ Bradley Bourbonnais Community/Maryland) and junior opposite hitter Lauren Grant (Eagan, Minn./Eastview/Cincinnati) each added six kills for the Cardinals, with Bates also logging a season-high 11 digs.
Junior setter Jacqui Seidel (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) collected her fifth assist/dig double-double of the season by handing out 26 assists and collecting a team-high 13 digs. Junior outside hitter Kylee Baker (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) also collected double-digit digs for BSU with 11.
Courtney Windham led the North Texas attack with 16 kills, while Carnae Dillard added 14. Windham also finished the day with a .556 (16-1-27) attack percentage to help the Mean Green hold a .231 (43-15-121) to .123 (33-19-114) hitting advantage for the match.
Another key to the NT win was its eight service aces, compared to two from BSU. North Texas also held a 52-51 advantage in digs and an 8-2 lead in blocks. NT's Shelby Tamura registered a match-best 20 digs and four aces.
The Mean Green took control early in the opening set as some strong serving from Tamura helped the hosts on the scoreboard pull out to a 6-0 lead. Ball State would battle within four points, at 8-4, but a 5-1 run gave North Texas complete control of the set at 13-5. NT went on to win the frame 25-14.
After falling behind 6-2 in the second set, back-to-back markers from Scott after a BSU timeout helped the Cardinals pull within two at 6-4. Junior middle blocker Mindy Marx (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven) would help Ball State tie the score at 11 with a pair of kills and a block, while BSU took its first lead of the match on the next play thanks to a NT attack error.
The lead was short-lived however, as the Mean Green scored six of the next eight points to force Ball State's second timeout at 17-14. The Cardinals battled back to tie the score at 18, only to have North Texas pull back ahead 23-20. A pair of NT miscues and block from Seidel and Scott tied the score at 23, but North Texas posted the final to points to escape with a 25-23 second set victory.
Another early surge allowed the Mean Green to pull out to a 6-3 advantage in the third set. However a kill and ace from Baker and a pair of kills from Marx tied the score at 7. A kill from Bates on the next rally gave BSU its second lead of the morning at 8-7.
Ball State maintained the one-point lead at 11-10, before back-to-back kills from Windham gave North Texas a 12-11 edge. BSU tied the score on the next rally, and the teams played to a 16-16 tie from there. Unfortunately, the Mean Green scored five of the next six points and never looked back winning the frame 25-20.
The Ball State women's volleyball team concludes play in the 2012 IUPUI Hampton Inn Invitational later this evening with a 7 p.m. first serve versus the host Jaguars at The Jungle.