►THE WEEK AHEAD: The No. 8 seeded Ball State women's volleyball team opens play in the 2012 Mid-American Conference Tournament Friday, when it battles No. 1 Ohio in the 4:30 p.m. quarterfinal match at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
►FOLLOW THE ACTION: Ball State Sports Link Radio WCRD 91.3 FM will broadcast all of the Cardinals' action in the 2012 MAC Tournament with Donnie Kolakowski, Adam Fox and Bryan Lord covering the action live from the SPIRE Institute ... The matches will be streamed for FREE on ballstatesports.com and wcrd.net ... In addition, fans can follow that action at MAC Tournament Central: http://www.mac-sports.com/Championships/Volleyball.aspx#
►IN IT TO WIN IT: After finishing league play with a 7-9 MAC record, the Ball State women's volleyball team earned the No. 8 seed in this weekend's MAC Tournament ... Unlike last season, in which the Cardinals entered the MAC Tournament 36th in the NCAA RPI rankings, the Cardinals find themselves ranked 129th in the current NCAA RPI rankings and will need to win the league tournament in order to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
►22 AND COUNTING: The Ball State women's volleyball team will make its 22nd straight Mid-American Conference Tournament appearance this season and its 24th overall in the league's premier event . . . After posting a 1-1 record in 2011, with a quarterfinal win over Eastern Michigan (3-1) and a semifinal loss to Northern Illinois (3-1), Ball State is 29-17 (.630) all-time in MAC Tournament matches . . . Both BSU's 29 wins and 46 matches played are league records . . . Overall, BSU is 4-1 in first round matches, 10-4 in quarterfinal matches, 9-9 in semifinal matches and 6-3 in championship matches . . . Ball State has more tournament wins (29) than five other MAC schools have matches played . . . Miami (42), Western Michigan (41), Bowling Green (35) and Ohio (30) are the only schools to play in more tournament matches than BSU has wins, while Northern Illinois' and Central Michigan's 29 matches played equals BSU's tournament win total.
►ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: In 2011, Kara Bates became the 17th player in program history to earn MAC All-Tournament accolades . . . From 1991-2005, the Cardinals placed at least one player on the MAC All-Tournament squad every year, marking a league-record 15-straight seasons with an all-tournament honoree . . . Since the inception of the all-tournament team in 1989, BSU has received the most selections, being honored 25 times among 17 players . . . In addition, Ball State's six tournament Most Valuable Player selections trail only Ohio's seven.
All-Time MAC All-Tournament Selections
1. Ball State 25 selections (6 MVP)
2. Miami 22 selections (4 MVP)
3. Ohio 19 selections (7 MVP)
4. Bowling Green 16 selections (1 MVP)
5. Western Michigan 15 selections (2 MVP)
6. Northern Illinois 11 selections (2 MVP)
7. Central Michigan 7 selections (1 MVP)
8. Kent State 6 selections
9. Akron 5 selections
Eastern Michigan 5 selections
11. Toledo 4 selections
12. Buffalo 0 selections
►VERSUS THE FIELD: Ball State holds a 250-156-1 record versus the 2012 MAC Tournament field, including a 19-11 mark in tournament action and a 4-3 ledger in MAC tournament championship matches.
All-Time Versus MAC Tournament Field
Team Overall Tourn. Champ. Streak
1. Ohio 33-14 0-4 0-1 L1
2. Bowling Green 37-16-1 6-1 2-0 W3
3. Western Michigan 38-41 2-1 1-1 L3
4. Northern Illinois 27-29 1-4 0-1 L4
5. Akron 30-3 4-0 1-0 W5
6. Central Michigan 38-30 0-1 0-0 L2
7. Eastern Michigan 47-23 6-0 0-0 W1
Total 250-156-1 19-11 4-3
►VS. OHIO: Ball State maintains a 33-14 lead in the all-time series versus Ohio ... In the lone regular season meeting this season, the Bobcats scored a 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-12) sweep of the Cardinals in a Oct. 13 showdown at Worthen Arena to snap a two-match losing streak in the series ... BSU won 26 consecutive matches in the series from Oct. 18, 1985 to Sept. 28, 2002 ... Ohio would win the next 11 matches in the series, before Steve Shondell led the Cardinals over the Bobcats in his inaugural 2010 campaign ... Ohio has won all four previous meetings in the MAC Tournament, including a 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-18) victory in the most recent meeting Nov. 20, 2009 ... The Bobcats also own a 3-1 edge in matches played on neutral courts.
►SCOUTING THE CARDINALS: Ball State earned the No. 8 seed in the 2012 MAC Tournament with a 14-15 (7-9 MAC) record ... Last week, the Cardinals scored a sweep at Eastern Michigan before dropping a five-set match at Central Michigan ... Kara Bates leads the Ball State attack and ranks fourth in the MAC with a 3.69 kills-per-set average, while Lisa Scott is second among BSU's starters at 2.54 ... Setters Jacqui Seidel and Jenna Spadafora have helped the BSU offense rank third in the MAC with a .221 team hitting percentage ... Catie Fredrich paces the BSU backcourt and ranks first in the league with a 5.06 digs-per-set average ... As a team, Ball State is limiting its opponents to a .203 hitting mark which ranks BSU's defense seventh in the MAC.
►SCOUTING THE BOBCATS: Ohio earned the No. 1 seed in the MAC Tournament as the league's regular season champion with a 19-9 (14-2 MAC) record ... The Bobcats closed league play last weekend with a sweep at Buffalo and a 3-1 win at Akron ... Kelly Lamberti paces the Ohio attack with a 4.05 kills-per-set average to rank second in the MAC, while Chelsea Bilger is second on the squad at 3.00 ... Abby Gilleland and Leah Petrovich have combined to set the Bobcats offense to a league-leading .233 hitting mark this season ... Meredith Ashy anchors the Ohio backcourt and ranks fifth in the MAC with a 4.75 digs-per-set average ... The Ohio defense ranks first in the MAC by limiting opponents to a .166 hitting mark.
►CARDINALS ALL-TIME: Ball State enters Friday's MAC Tournament quarterfinal match versus Ohio with an 802-517-2 (.608) all-time record ... BSU boasts a 63-28 (.692) mark under third-year head coach Steve Shondell, including a 33-15 (.688) record in Mid-American Conference play.
►BALL STATE IN THE MAC: With a 3-1 victory at Ohio (Oct. 14, 2011), Ball State became just the second women's volleyball program in league history to collect 300 Mid-American Conference victories ... With a 7-9 MAC record this season, BSU enters Friday's match with a 313-158 (.665) all-time record in conference matches ... BSU's record is the second-best in league history, trailing only Western Michigan's 330-141 (.701) all-time MAC mark ... Ohio is sixth all-time at 251-220 (532).
►FROM THE NEST: With an 8-6 home record so far this season, Ball State maintains a 216-63 (.774) all-time record in matches played in Worthen Arena, including a 160-36 (.816) mark versus Mid-American Conference teams ... Ball State concludes the 2012 regular season Saturday, Nov. 24, when it hosts Xavier for a 7 p.m. first serve.
►IN THE NCAA STAT RANKINGS: Ball State entered the week ranked 67th in the nation with a 16.52 digs-per-set average, while the team's 13.58 kills-per-set average was 73rd ... Individually, Jacqui Seidel ranks 35th in the nation with her 11.05 assists-per-set average, Catie Fredrich is 55th with her 5.06 digs-per-set average, Lisa Scott is 83rd with her .337 hitting mark and Kara Bates is 94th with her 3.69 kills-per-set average.
►DOMINATING THE MAC: Senior middle hitter Lisa Scott found her grove in the Ball State lineup during MAC play, ranking first in the conference with a .360 attack percentage in league-only matches ... Northern Illinois' Sarah Angelos was second in MAC-only contests with a .349 hitting effort ... Scott, who hit .304 in BSU's 13 pre-conference matches, hit .304-or-better in 12 of BSU's 16 league contests, including .400-or-better efforts in nine matches.
►BLOCK PARTY: Beginning with her career-high 13 total blocks at Bowling Green (Oct. 19), Lisa Scott has been on a roll at the net, averaging 1.30 blocks per set over the past eight matches ... The Cardinals' leading blocker this season at 0.93 blocks per set, Scott has tallied 100 total blocks this season ... Including her three seasons at Maryland, Scott has tallied 446 total blocks over her career, including 90 solo blocks and 356 block assists ... Had she played at BSU her entire career, Scott's career blocking total would rank fifth in Ball State annals.
►LEADING THE PACK: Senior outside hitter Kara Bates has led the Ball State attack in kills 21 times this season ... She posted a career-high 24 kills at Northern Colorado (Sept. 8), while collecting 19 kills in five other matches ... Bates has also smashed double-digit kills in 24 matches this season which ties as the 13th-best single season total in program history ... A 2011 First Team All-MAC selection, Bates ranks fourth in the MAC with a 3.71 kills-per-set average.
►APPROACHING THE TOP 20: Kara Bates enters the 2012 MAC Tournament with 737 kills in her two-year Ball State career ... She needs just 58 more kills to pass Jennifer Boyd's (2008-11) career total of 794 for 20th on BSU's all-time list ... Bates' career kill total is second among transfers who played just two years at BSU, trailing only Rachel Refenes (2004-05) who ranks 17th in program history with 822 kills ... Bates currently ranks 15th on BSU's career charts with double-digit kills in 42 matches, while her 3.44 kills-per-set average is seventh all-time among BSU players with at least 500 career kills.
►WELCOME BACK LIBERO: After missing her first career match versus Ohio (Oct. 13), junior Catie Fredrich has posted 20-or-more digs in six of the eight matches since her return ... She tallied a career-high 33 digs in BSU's match at Miami (Oct. 20), while logging 21 digs at Bowling Green (Oct. 19), 27 digs at Toledo (Oct. 25), 24 digs at Buffalo (Oct. 27), 29 digs at Eastern Michigan (Nov. 9) and 24 digs at Central Michigan (Nov. 10) ... She has also turned in a stellar .995 reception percentage over the span, passing 183 of the 184 service attempts she has faced.
►DIGGING DEEP: With 53 digs last week, Catie Fredrich climbed one spot to fifth in program history with 1,350 career digs ... Fredrich is 230 digs shy of passing Amanda McCormick's (2005-06) career total of 1,579 for fourth on BSU's all-time list ... Fredrich's 69 matches with double-figure digs ranks fourth on BSU's career charts, as does her 4.04 career digs-per-set average ... Her 20 career matches with 20-or-more digs is fifth currently fifth in program history.
►AN OFFENSIVE BOOST: With three outside hitters out of the lineup due to injury, freshman Jenna Spadafora has played a key role on offense for the Cardinals during league play ... Entering the season as the team's backup setter, Spadafora has blasted double-digit kills in seven matches from the left side, while serving as the team's setter for two others in MAC action ... She collected 13 kills in each of BSU's two matches last weekend, while adding 15 digs at EMU and a career-high 18 digs at CMU to give her a pair of double-doubles.
►MORE ON SPADAFORA: Jenna Spadafora recorded a career-high 15 kills in the Oct. 5 showdown versus Central Michigan, while posting her first career double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs at Miami (Oct. 20) ... After playing five consecutive matches on the outside (Sept. 22 - Oct. 6), Spadafora returned to her natural position to set the Cardinals to a .270 hitting mark and a sweep of Kent State (Oct. 12) ... She dished out a career-high 42 assists in the match, while also serving up a career-high four aces ... Spadafora also set BSU's first match versus Ohio (Oct. 13), handing out 29 assists as the team hit .170 in a match the Cardinals played without three of its normal starters who were out with injuries.
►HITTING THE MARX: In another strong out-of-position performance, junior Mindy Marx moved to the right side last weekend and promptly deposited a career-high 14 kills at Central Michigan ... She also tallied seven blocks, while hitting .312 versus the Chippewas ... In last Friday's match at Eastern Michigan, Marx tallied seven kills and three blocks in the sweep ... For the week, Marx averaged 2.62 kills per set and 1.25 blocks per set, well above her season averages of 1.95 kps and 0.68 bps.
►DOUBLING UP: Junior setter Jacqui Seidel logged a pair of assist/dig double-doubles last weekend to bring her season total to 15 ... Eight have come in MAC play, including two each versus Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan ... Last weekend, Seidel handed out a career-high 62 assists at CMU, while earning a career-best 18 digs at EMU ... She enters the week ranked 10th in program history with 1,470 career assists.
►LONGEST OF THE YEAR: BSU's two longest matches of the year time wise have been played versus Central Michigan ... The Oct. 5 match lasted 2:22, while last Saturday's thriller in which four sets went overtime and all five were decided by just two points went 2:30.