MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - - The Ball State women’s volleyball team picked up its 11th-straight win with another dominating victory, sweeping Central Michigan 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-19) Saturday evening at McGuirk Arena.
In improving to 14-3 (2-0 Mid-American Conference) on the season, the Cardinals claimed their seventh sweep during their 11-match winning streak. Ball State won the other four matches by scores of 3-1.
The 11-straight wins is the longest streak under fourth-year head coach Steve Shondell and ties as the 10th-longest in program history. The last time Ball State won 11-or-more consecutive matches was during the 2002 season when BSU posted 12-straight victories from Oct. 26 – Nov. 30.
“Central Michigan is always tough to beat at home, and to sweep them on their home court is a great accomplishment for any team,” Shondell said. “We had a tremendous effort from every player who donned the Cardinal uniform tonight. As a team, we played one of our best matches in the past four years.”
Much like last night, the Cardinals used a dominating defensive effort to keep the Central Michigan (7-7/1-1 MAC) offense out of sync, limiting the Chippewas to a .048 (31-25-126) attack percentage. Ball State racked up nine team blocks in the win, while out-digging CMU 60-49.
Senior libero Catie Fredrich (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Fall) led all players with 24 digs, marking the sixth time this season she has collected double-digit digs in a match.
Offensively, the Cardinals connected for a .203 (42-18-118) rate of success with redshirts sophomores Alex Fuelling (Decatur, Ind./Bellmont/Morehead State) and Hayley Benson (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Bradley) tying for match-high honors with 11 kills. Fuelling would add seven digs and four total blocks, while Benson posted two blocks and a .412 (11-4-17) attack percentage.
Senior setter Jacqui Seidel (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) guided the Ball State offense, handing out 37 assists while adding seven digs.
Melissa Fuchs led the CMU attack with 10 kills, while Jenna Coates collected a team-high 18 digs.
Trailing 2-1 in the opening set, the Cardinals used back-to-back kills from senior middle Mindy Marx (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven) to spark a 4-0 run. The Cardinals controlled play from there, posting a 25-14 opening set victory.
The second set was a tight battle to the 18-18 mark, before back-to-back kills from senior opposite Lauren Grant (Eagan, Minn./Eastview/Cincinnati) gave Ball State the momentum. Grant would connect for another kill to give the Cardinals set-point at 24-21, before a Fuelling smash ended the set two rallies later at 25-22.
The teams played to a 3-3 tie to open the third set before a 6-1 run from the Cardinals, which included a pair of blocks from Benson and Fuelling, gave the guest a 9-4 edge. Ball State controlled play from there, reaching match-point at 24-19 on a kill from Marx and winning the set 25-19 on a CMU attack error.
The Ball State women’s volleyball team returns to action Thursday, when it travels to Toledo for a 7 p.m. showdown versus its MAC travel partner. The match is slated to be televised as part of the league’s new regional partnership with Time Warner Cable Sports and will be carried state-wide by Comcast Indiana.