MUNCIE, Ind. - - The Ball State (9-3) women’s volleyball team ran its winning streak to six matches with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-15, 25-23) sweep of visiting IUPUI (4-8) Tuesday evening at Worthen Arena.
With Ball State Sports Link televising the match state-wide, the Cardinals used a dominating attack to take down the in-state rival Jaguars for the fifth consecutive time in the series.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match,” said Ball State head coach Steve Shondell. “IUPUI has played everyone tough this year and tonight was no different. We ran a great offense and were nearly unstoppable when we were in system, which helped carry us past IUPUI.”
In setting the Ball State offense to a .304 (57-19-125) attack percentage for the match, senior setter Jacqui Seidel (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) collected her third double-double of the season with 51 assists and 13 digs.
Seidel’s 51 assists were the most for a BSU player in a three-set match in the rally scoring era, topping the previous mark of 46 set by Brittany McGinnis versus Murray State Sept. 3, 2011.
Leading three Cardinals with double-digit kills in the victory was redshirt freshman outside hitter Mackenzie Kitchel (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove/Cincinnati) who racked up a career-best and match-high 17 markers, while hitting .364 (17-5-33).
Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Alex Fuelling (Decatur, Ind./Bellmont/Morehead State) posted her seventh double-double of the season, adding 16 kills and 11 digs.
From the middle, senior Mindy Marx (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven) tagged 10 kills and hit .500 (10-1-18), while redshirt freshman Hayley Benson (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Bradley) posted nine kills and a match-best .562 (9-0-16) attack percentage.
Senior libero Catie Fredrich (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls) led all players with 14 digs on the night.
Overall, the Ball State defense limited the IUPUI attack to a .183 (33-13-109) rate of success, with Moriah Fair leading the squad with nine kills. Kaitlyn Hickey paced the Jaguars’ backcourt with 12 digs.
The opening set was a battle early, with IUPUI holding a slim 16-15 edge. However, back-to-back kills from Kitchel gave Ball State the momentum as they rallied off the next eight points to pull ahead 23-16. Benson would give the Cardinals set-point at 24-20, while Fuelling ended the set two points later at 25-21.
Trailing 3-2 in the second set, the Cardinals used kills from Marx, Benson and Kitchel to score the next three points as part of a 5-0 run. The visitors from Indianapolis would get no closer than three points the rest of the way, eventually losing the set 25-15 on back-to-back blasts from Marx.
In the third set, the teams battled to a 13-13 stalemate before three kills from Kitchel helped the Cardinals pull ahead 17-14. Ball State would maintain a four-point lead at the 23-19 mark, only to see the Jaguars claw within one at 23-22. A kill from Fuelling would give BSU its first match-point at 24-22, only to see Kortni Wright answer with a blast of her own to keep IUPUI alive.
Fuelling would not be denied the match-winner on the next rally, however, as she smashed her 16th kill of the night to end the set 25-23 and the match 3-0.The Ball State women’s volleyball team returns to action Friday, when it opens play in the College of Charleston Classic with a 4:30 p.m. matchup versus UNC-Asheville. The Cardinals close the tournament Saturday with matches versus Southern Methodist (Noon) and the College of Charleston (7:30 p.m.).