CHARLESTON, S.C. - - The Ball State women’s volleyball team captured its second tournament title in as many weeks with a 3-1 (25-22, 16-25, 25-20, 25-23) victory over the College of Charleston in the championship match of the CofC Classic Saturday evening.
With the victory, the Cardinals (12-3) extended their current winning streak to nine matches which ties as the second-longest winning streak under current head coach Steve Shondell. BSU won the final 10 matches of the 2010 regular season under Shondell and opened the 2011 season with nine straight wins.
In the championship match victory, senior opposite Lauren Grant (Eagan, Minn./Eastview/Cincinnati) turned in her best match of the season, racking up 12 kills and adding a pair of block assists.
Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Alex Fuelling (Decatur, Ind./Bellmont/Morehead State) led the Ball State offense with 15 kills, while adding nine digs and a match-high three service aces.
For her efforts over the entire tournament, senior middle Mindy Marx (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven) was named the College of Charleston Classic Tournament MVP. After racking up a career-best 16 kills versus SMU, Marx blasted 11 more in the win over Charleston, while adding a match-best six total blocks.
After recording a career-best 14 blocks earlier in the day, Benson added five kills and a pair of solo stuffs in the championship match win over the Cougars. Fredrich finished the championship match with 20 digs.
Senior setter Jacqui Seidel (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) set the Ball State offense to a .203 (55-24-153) hitting mark versus Charleston, dishing out 41 assists to go along with 17 digs for her fifth double-double of the season.
Muncie native and Delta graduate Darcy Dorton led the College of Charleston (10-4) attack with 16 kills, while Kallie McKown logged a team-best 14 digs.
Trailing 8-7 in the opening set, a block and kill from Benson helped the Cardinals rattle off the next four points and take an 11-8 edge. However, the host Cougars answered with the next six points to reclaim the lead at 14-11.
A pair of kills from both Grant and Fuelling would help Ball State rally back and reclaim the lead at 17-15. The back-and-fourth battle continued from there, as the teams went on to play to a 21-21 stalemate.
Thanks to a CofC attack error and a solo block from Seidel, Ball State would score the next two points to pull ahead 23-21. Following a point from the Cougars, the Cardinals posted the final two points and went on to win the set 25-22 on an ace from Seidel.
Ball State pulled out to a 6-4 advantage to open the second set, only to see the College of Charleston score the next eight points to take control of the frame at 12-6. Ball State answered with a mini three-point run, only to see SMU score six straight and eventually win the frame 25-16.
The Cardinals rebounded from the second set loss by building a 7-2 lead to open the third stanza. However, the hosts would battle back and eventually even the score at 17. Back-to-back blasts from Fuelling would give BSU the momentum back and help force a CofC timeout at 20-17.
Ball State added four of the next five points to reach set-point at 24-18 thanks to a Fuelling service ace. After a pair of Cougars points, a kill from Marx helped Ball State close out the set 25-20.
Ball State jumped out to another 7-2 advantage to open the fourth set and maintained the five-point lead at the 16-11 mark. Once again Charleston would charge back, evening the score at 18-18. This time, a dump kill from Seidel and a CofC attack error helped BSU reclaim the lead at 20-18 and force a timeout from the hosts.
Ball State continued to carry the momentum after the break, using a CofC attack error and a kill from Grant to pull ahead 22-18. The Cardinals would reach match-point at 24-22 after a kill from Benson, before going on to claim the set 25-23 and the match 3-1 on a kill from Fuelling.
The Ball State women’s volleyball team now turns its attention to Mid-American Conference play, as it travels to Eastern Michigan Friday (7 p.m.) and Central Michigan Saturday (7 p.m.).