►THE WEEK AHEAD: The Ball State women's volleyball team returns to Worthen Arena this weekend for the Ball State Tournament ... BSU opens the two-day event Friday versus Pittsburgh (7 p.m.) ... Saturday, the Cardinals will battle both Wright State (11 a.m.) and Wyoming (7 p.m.).
►FOLLOW THE ACTION: For the third consecutive season, Ball State All-Access (subscriptions starting as low as $9.95 a month) will feature live streaming video for all of BSU's women's volleyball home matches this season ... In addition, Ball State Sports Link Radio 91.3 WCRD will broadcast all of BSU's home matches and select road contests for FREE online at BallStateSports.com ... Live stats will also be available for all of BSU's home matches.
►CARDINALS ALL-TIME: Ball State enters Friday's contest with a 792-508-2 (.609) all-time record after posting an 0-3 record last week at the Northern Colorado Classic ... BSU boasts a 53-19 (.736) mark under third-year head coach Steve Shondell.
►FROM THE NEST: After going 2-1 at home to open the 2012 season, BSU owns a 210-58 (.784) all-time record in matches played in Worthen Arena, including a 157-31 (.835) mark versus Mid-American Conference teams.
►VS. BALL STATE TOURNAMENT FOES: Ball State is a combined 16-13 versus its opponents in the Ball State Tournament ... Pittsburgh holds a 5-4 edge in the all-time series, including three consecutive wins ... The Panthers pulled out a 3-0 victory in the latest meeting Sept. 12, 2003 ... The Cardinals own a 12-7 advantage in the all-time series versus Wright State ... However, the Raiders have won the last two meetings, including a 3-1 victory Sept. 11, 2010 to give BSU head coach Steve Shondell his first collegiate coaching loss ... Wyoming has won the only meeting with Ball State, scoring a 3-0 victory Sept. 15, 1989.
►SCOUTING THE CARDINALS: Ball State enters its second home tournament of the season with a 4-6 overall record ... Last weekend the Cardinals posted an 0-3 record at the Northern Colorado Classic with losses to Creighton (0-3), Northern Colorado (1-3) and Tulsa (1-3) ... Kara Bates leads the Ball State attack with a 3.86 kills-per-set average, while Kylee Baker is second among BSU's starters at 2.25 ... Jacqui Seidel has set the Ball State offense to a .207 hitting percentage this season, having collecting assist/dig double-doubles in six of BSU's 10 matches ... Catie Fredrich paces the BSU backcourt and the Mid-American Conference with a 5.26 digs-per-set average ... As a team, Ball State is limiting its opponents to a .192 hitting mark.
►SCOUTING THE PANTHERS: Pittsburgh enters the Ball State Tournament with an 8-2 record after posting a perfect 3-0 record at last weekend's Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Classic hosted by Tulane ... The Panthers scored wins over Sam Houston State (3-1), Tulane (3-1) and Mississippi State (3-1) at the event ... Monica Wignot leads a very balanced Pitt attack with a 2.50 kills-per-set average, while Margy Action has a team-best 5.13 digs-per-set average ... The Panthers are hitting .207 as a team, while allowing opponents to hit .190.
►SCOUTING THE RAIDERS: Wright State enters the Ball State Tournament with a 1-12 record, including a Tuesday home loss to Butler (0-3) ... Last weekend, WSU opened the Golden Horseshoe Challenge with its first win of the season over Saint Peter's (3-1), before losing to Radford (0-3), Maryland Eastern Shore (2-3) and tournament host West Virginia (0-3) ... Heidi Splinter has a team-best 2.95 kills-per-set average, while Katie Glassmeyer leads the squad with a 4.33 digs-per-set average ... As a team, the Raiders are hitting .123, while allowing its opponents to connect for a .241 rate of success.
►SCOUTING THE COWGIRLS: Wyoming enters the Ball State Tournament with a 9-2 record ... Last weekend at the Kansas Jayhawk Classic, the Cowgirls extended their season-opening winning streak to nine matches with a win over Arizona State (3-2), before losing to both the College of Charleston (1-3) and host Kansas (0-3) ... Jodi Purdy leads the Wyoming attack with a 2.87 kills-per-set average, while three other Cowgirls average between 1.92 and 1.95 ... Becky Stewart has a team-best 4.89 digs-per-set average ... As a team, Wyoming is hitting .246, while limiting its opposition to a .115 mark.
►MID-SEASON FORM: Senior outside hitter Kara Bates, a 2012 Preseason All-MAC selection, already looks to be in mid-season form, leading the Ball State attack with a 3.86 kills-per-set average this season which also ranks third among all Mid-American Conference players ... Bates has smashed double-figure kills in seven of BSU's 10 matches this season, including a career-high 24 kills at Northern Colorado (Sept. 8) ... At last weekend's Northern Colorado Classic, Bates led the BSU offense with a 4.64 kills-per-set average ... Last season, Bates earned a spot on the All-MAC First Team after leading the Cardinals with a 3.20 kills-per-set average, including a 3.56 average in MAC action.
►FREDRICH ON D: A four-time MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week selection in 2011, junior defensive specialist Catie Fredrich has racked up double-digit digs in nine of BSU's 10 matches this season, with 20-or-more digs four times ... Last weekend at the Northern Colorado Classic, Fredrich posted a 5.82 digs-per-set average with 64 digs over 11 sets, including a season-high 30 digs versus Tulsa (Sept. 8) ... Overall, Fredrich has led the Cardinals in digs in 38 of the last 40 matches dating back to last season, while earning match-high honors in 29 of the contests.
►DIGGING DEEP: After collecting 64 digs at the Northern Colorado Classic last weekend, Catie Fredrich became just the 14th player in program history to record over 1,000 career digs at 1,003 ... Her 30-dig effort versus Tulsa (Sept. 8) marked the 13th time in her career she has posted 20-or-more digs in a match which ranks fifth in BSU annals ... Fredrich's 562 digs in 2011 were the ninth-best single season dig total in program history, while her 51 career matches with double-figure digs ranks 10th and her 3.80 career digs-per-set average is fourth.
►IN THE PRESEASON POLLS: The Ball State women's volleyball team was picked to finish second in the Mid-American Conference West Division in the annual preseason poll ... Western Michigan was chosen first and garnered 10 first place votes, followed by BSU and Central Michigan with one first place vote each ... Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan and Toledo rounded out the division.