TAMPA, Fla. - - The Ball State women’s volleyball team opened its final day of play in the USF Tournament with a 3-0 (25-11, 25-14, 25-17) sweep of The Citadel Saturday morning at The Corral.
The Cardinals take a 2-0 record into the final match of the day, when it battles tournament host USF at 7 p.m. this evening.
A total of 13 different players saw action versus the Bulldogs with redshirt sophomore outside hitter Alex Fuelling pacing all players with 11 kills in just two sets. Fuelling also racked up a career-best .733 (11-0-15) attack percentage and tallied seven digs in her second strong outing for the Cardinals.
Redshirt sophomore middle hitter Hayley Benson also had a strong match for Ball State, racking up six kills, a .545 (6-0-11) attack percentage and a match-best three block assists in just two sets.
Senior middle hitter Mindy Marx and redshirt sophomore middle hitter Kelly Hopkins added eight kills apiece for the Cardinals, while redshirt freshman transfer outside hitter Mackenzie Kitchel added a career-best six markers.
Senior setter Jacqui Seidel and freshman setter Jenna Spadafora split time at setter and combined to lead the Ball State offense to a .419 (55-11-105) attack mark. Seidel handed out a match-best 26 assists, while Spadafora dished out 21.
Senior libero Catie Fredrich led all players with 15 digs, while serving up a pair of aces.
Ise d’Andelo led The Citadel with six kills, while Erin Bucherl posted a team-best 13 digs. Overall, the Ball State defense limited the Bulldogs to a .085 (18-11-82) attack percentage for the match.
Ball State scored the first three points of the opening set, thanks in part to a Hopkins kill and a Seidel ace, and never looked back. Ball State reached its first 10-point lead at 17-7 on a Citadel attack error, before winning the frame 25-11 on a kill from Kitchel.
The Citadel held a brief 2-1 edge in the second set, only to see the Cardinals rally back and pull ahead 7-4. The Bulldogs would keep the score within one, at 11-10, only to see three kills from Kitchel help spark a 10-1 BSU run to push the score to 22-11. A kill from Spadafora would give Ball Sate set point, while Fuelling ended the frame at 25-14 with an ace.
With the score knotted at 4-4 in the third frame, the Cardinals posted the next four points thanks to the help of a pair of Hopkins kills. With the Cardinals leading 9-5 after a kill from Marx, sophomore defensive specialist Kati Vasalakis would serve the Cardinals to a 15-5 edge in a run that included a pair of aces. Ball State would then cruise to the 25-17 victory with Marx ending the match with her eighth kill of the morning.