MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - - The Ball State women's volleyball team opened play in the Diet Coke Classic with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-12) loss to tournament host and fourth-ranked Minnesota Friday evening at the Sports Pavilion.
With the loss, the Cardinals fall to 3-2 on the year, while Golden Gophers improve to 5-0 with the victory.
Senior middle Mindy Marx (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven) led the Ball State offense with eight kills, while connecting for a .312 (8-3-16) attack percentage. She also tied for team-high honors with three total blocks.
Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Alex Fuelling (Decatur, Ind./Bellmont/Morehead State) was second on the squad with six kills, while also collecting a match-best 12 digs.
Senior libero Catie Fredrich (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls) managed to pick up 11 digs, giving her double-digit dig totals in all five of Ball State's matches so far this season.
Led by Tori Dixon's match-best 15 kills and .667 (15-1-21) attack percentage, Minnesota held a .333 (45-14-93) to .049 (26-21-103) attacking advantage on the night.
The Golden Gophers scored the first three points of the match, only to see Ball State rally back and tie the score at 3-3. The Cardinals remained within one point, at the 9-8 mark, following a block from seniors Marx and Jacqui Seidel (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East). Unfortunately, the hosts would rattle off the next seven points and go on to win the opening set 25-18.
After the teams traded the first two points of the second set, Minnesota tallied the next five markers to build a 6-1 advantage. Ball State would battle back within three points, at 9-6, but would get no closer dropping the set 25-17.
The hosts jumped out to a 3-0 edge early in the third frame, only to see the Cardinals claw back within one point, at 6-5. However, Minnesota answered with 11 of the next 13 points to pull ahead by 10 at 17-7. Ball State would close within seven, at 19-12, before ultimately losing the frame 25-12.The Ball State women's volleyball team closes play at the Diet Coke Classic tomorrow with matches versus Duke (11 a.m. CT) and Western Illinois (5 p.m. CT). Check BallStateSports.com Saturday night for coverage of both matches.