►THE WEEK AHEAD: The Ball State women’s volleyball team continues league play this week, starting with a Thursday road match at Toledo (7 p.m.) ... The Cardinals will then open a three-match homestand Saturday versus Buffalo (7 p.m.).
►FOLLOW THE ACTION PART 1: Thursday’s match at Toledo will be televised live as part of the Mid-American Conference’s new regional partnership with Time Warner Cable Sports (Channels 311 & 1311) and will be carried state-wide by Comcast Indiana (Channel 81) ... Fans can also watch online at ESPN3.com ... Bob McElligott and Lyndsay Rowley will cover the action for the broadcast.
►FOLLOW THE ACTION PART 2: Ball State Sports Link Radio WCRD 91.3 FM will carry Saturday’s match versus Buffalo live over the airwaves and online at BallStateSports.com ... Rob Connent will handle the play-by-play duties for WCRD, while Drew Bogs and Andy Wright cover the color commentary ... Saturday’s match will also be streamed live as part of the Ball State All Access package (with subscriptions starting at $9.95 a month) ... Live stats will be available for both of the Cardinals’ matches this week and fans can also keep up with the program on twitter @BallStateVB.
►CARDINALS ALL-TIME: After picking up a pair of league road wins last weekend, the Ball State women’s volleyball team enters Thursday’s match at Toledo with an 816-522-2 (.610) all-time record ... BSU boasts a 77-33 (.700) mark under fourth-year head coach Steve Shondell, including a 35-15 (.700) record in Mid-American Conference play.
►FROM THE NEST: With a 2-0 home record this season, the Cardinals own a 218-64 (.773) all-time record in matches played in Worthen Arena, including a 160-36 (.816) mark versus MAC teams.
►IN THE MAC: The Ball State women’s volleyball team enters the week with a 320-161 (.665) all-time record in Mid-American Conference matches, which ranks second among all league schools ... Western Michigan is first with a 337-144 (.701) league mark ... Toledo ranks 11th with a 141-340 (.293) all-time MAC record, while Buffalo is 12th at 38-214 (.151).
►THE EMU/CMU TRIP: Last weekend’s road sweep of Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan marked just the third time the Cardinals have swept the EMU/CMU road weekend since the current MAC travel format was established in 2004 ... The Cardinals won the inaugural road weekend in 2004 by scores of 3-0 at CMU and 3-1 at EMU on their way to a MAC West Division title ... In 2010, Ball State used wins of 3-2 at EMU and 3-1 at CMU to help capture the MAC West Division and MAC Regular Season championships.
►THE STREAK IS STILL ON: In improving to 14-3 (2-0 MAC) on the season with a pair of league wins last weekend, the Ball State women’s volleyball team ran its current winning streak to 11 matches ... The streak is currently tied as the fourth-longest in the nation, trailing only Missouri (16), North Carolina (13) and Colorado State (13) ... Michigan State and Hawai’i join the Cardinals with 11-match winning streaks.
►MORE ON THE STREAK: Ball State’s 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.
►SCOUTING THE CARDINALS: Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Alex Fuelling paces the squad and ranks third in the MAC with a 3.81 kills-per-set average, while redshirt sophomore middle Hayley Benson ranks second in the conference with a .376 attack percentage ...Senior setter Jacqui Seidel and sophomore setter Jenna Spadafora have combined to set the Ball State offense to a .243 attacking mark which ranks third in the league ... In the backcourt, senior libero Catie Fredrich has tallied double-digit digs in 15 of BSU’s 17 matches this season for an average of 4.66 digs per set, which ranks fourth in the league ... As a team, the Ball State defense has held opponents to a combined .133 hitting mark which ranks second in the MAC.
►BALL STATE VERSUS TOLEDO: Ball State holds a commanding 59-5 lead in the all-time series versus Toledo, including four straight wins ... Last season, the Cardinals swept the Rockets in Muncie (Sept. 20), while earning a hard-fought 3-2 victory in Toledo (Oct. 25) ... Overall, the last four matches played on Toledo’s home court have went five sets with Ball State winning each one ... The Cardinals hold a 25-2 record on Toledo’s home court, having not dropped a true road match in the series since Nov. 12, 1986 ... UT’s last win in the series came in the first round of the 2010 Mid-American Conference Tournament at the SeaGate Centre in Toledo as a neutral site contest.
►SCOUTING TOLEDO: The Rockets enter Thursday’s match with a 7-8 overall record, including an 0-2 mark in MAC play ... Last weekend, Toledo suffered league losses at Central Michigan (3-0) and Eastern Michigan (3-1) ... Lauren Rafdal leads the Toledo attack with a 3.55 kills-per-set average, while Dakota Harkins is second at 2.30 ... Adria Pryor has set the Toledo offense to a .177 attack percentage, which has the Rockets ranked 10th in the MAC ... The Toledo defense is allowing opponents to connect for a .216 attack percentage, which ranks last in the league ... Toledo also ranks 10th in the league in digs (14.49) and eighth in blocks (2.11) per set.
►BALL STATE VERSUS BUFFALO: The Cardinals hold a 16-1 lead in the all-time series versus Buffalo, including back-to-back wins ... Last season, Ball State scored a hard-fought 3-2 road win Oct. 27 ... The Bulls’ lone victory came Oct. 9, 2010 in another five-set thriller at UB’s Alumni Arena ... Ball State is a perfect 10-0 in matches played in both Muncie and Worthen Arena, with seven of the wins being sweeps ... The Bulls have only won four sets in Muncie, including pushing the Cardinals to five sets in a Nov. 14, 2006 showdown at Worthen Arena.
►SCOUTING BUFFALO: The Bulls enter the week as one of the league’s top teams with a 13-2 overall record, including a 1-1 mark in MAC play ... Both of Buffalo’s losses have come to nationally-ranked teams in then-No. 13 Ohio State (3-0) and then-No. 22 Ohio (3-1) ... After losing its MAC opener to the Bobcats last Friday, Buffalo rebounded with a 3-1 win over Kent State ... The Bulls boast the league’s top defense, limiting opponents to a .116 attack percentage thanks in part to a MAC-best 3.20 blocks-per-set average ... In fact, Buffalo’s blocking average ranks second among all NCAA Division I programs, trailing only Stanford (3.23) ... Amber Hatchett has a league-best 1.53 blocks-per-set average, while Carissa McKenna is second at 1.46 ... Offensively, Tahleia Bishop leads the Bulls with a 3.34 kills-per-set average ... Dani Reinert and Taylor Pritchett have combined to set the Buffalo attack to a .217 rate of success which ranks sixth in the MAC.
►FREDRICH DOES IT AGAIN: For the second time this season, and eighth time in her career, Catie Fredrich was named the MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week after helping guide the Cardinals to wins at EMU and CMU last weekend ... In helping Ball State post a 2-0 start to MAC play, Fredrich logged 7.67 digs per set and a perfect 1.000 (29-for-29) reception percentage ... Her effort in the back court also helped limit BSU’s opponents to a combined .047 (51-40-232) attack percentage ... Fredrich was also named the MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week Sept. 16.
►GOING FOR 2,000: With her match-high 24 digs at Central Michigan last Friday, Catie Fredrich climbed to third in program history with 1,661 career digs ... Fredrich could become just the third player in program history to reach 2,000 career digs with 339 more this season ... Fredrich, who has collected double-digit digs in 15 matches this season, also ranks fourth in program history in career matches with double-digit digs (86), career digs-per-set average (4.14) and career matches with 20-or-more digs (27).
►HITTING HER MARX: During the team’s current 11-match winning streak, Mindy Marx is leading the Ball State offense with a .446 (104-21-186) attack percentage ... She has blasted double-digit kills in five of the last six matches, including a career-high 16 in the win over SMU (Sept. 21) ... Marx, who had never connected for double-digit kills in back-to-back matches in her career prior to this season, also logged a career-best .688 (12-1-16) attack percentage in the win at Eastern Michigan (Sept. 27) ... Marx’s 104 total kills over the last 11 matches rank second on the squad, as do her 29 total blocks.
►THE 20 KILL CLUB: With 20 kills in Ball State’s win over Iowa (Sept. 13), Alex Fuelling became just the fourth player in program history to smash 20-or-more kills in a match at least twice in the 25-point rally scoring era (2008-present) ... Kelsey Brandl (2009-11) accomplished the task five times over her career, including a BSU 25-point rally scoring era record 25 kills at Toledo (Oct. 7, 2010) ... Kara Bates (2011-12) and Julie Breivogel (2006-09) are the only other players to blast 20-or-more kills in a match twice since 2008.
►DOMINATING DEFENSE: During its current 11-match winning streak, the Ball State defense has limited opposing teams to a combined .104 attack percentage ... Over the span, the Cardinals are posting 2.43 blocks and 16.38 digs per set, which has helped limit opponents to 10.30 kills per set ... During the run, BSU has held seven of its opponents below .100 hitting marks, including both Eastern Michigan (.047) and Central Michigan (.048) last weekend.
►DOMINATING OFFENSE: In contrast to its opponents, the Ball State offense is operating at a .262 rate of success over the past 11 matches, while averaging 14.89 kills per set ... If those were season totals, the kills-per-set average would rank sixth nationally, while the attack percentage would be 29th ... As it stands, Ball State ranks 13th in kills (14.53) and 73rd in hitting percentage (.243) for the season.
►MORE ON THE OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION: Ball State’s 14.89 kills-per-set average this season would currently rank as the eighth-best average in program history, the fifth-best in the rally scoring era (2001-Pres.) and the best in the 25-point rally scoring era (2008-Pres.) ... Ball State’s best kills-per-set average is 17.44 in 1999, while its best rally scoring average is 16.15 in 2001 ... The Cardinals’ best mark in the 25-point era is 13.89 in 2011.
►DISHING THE ROCK AT A RECORD PACE: Jacqui Seidel turn in one of the best matches of her career in setting the Cardinals to a 3-0 win over IUPUI (Sept. 17) ... Seidel’s 51 assists in the match were the most for a Ball State setter in a three-set contest in the rally scoring era, topping the previous mark of 46 set by Brittany McGinnis versus Murray State Sept. 3, 2011.
►SPEAKING OF RECORDS: Hayley Benson turned in the Cardinals’ second record-setting performance of the week with a career-high 14 total blocks against SMU (Sept. 21) ... In helping Ball State post a season-high 17 total blocks in the four-set victory, Benson racked up career-highs of five solo blocks and nine block assists ... The 14 total blocks tie as the most for a Ball State player in the rally scoring era with Christine Kennedy’s effort versus IUPUI on Sept. 6, 2006.
►MAC PRESEASON PROGNOSTICATION: Ball State was selected to finish fourth in the MAC West Division in the league’s annual preseason coaches poll released Aug. 28 ... Western Michigan is the favorite to win the division with five first place votes, followed by Northern Illinois (four first-place votes), Central Michigan (three first-place votes), BSU, Eastern Michigan and Toledo ... Bowling Green picked up seven first place votes to lead the MAC East, followed by Ohio (five first-place votes), Miami, Buffalo, Akron and Kent State ... Bowling Green and Ohio both received four votes to win the 2013 MAC Tournament, while Northern Illinois and Western Michigan garnered two each.