TOLEDO, Ohio - - The Ball State women’s volleyball team concluded its league-opening three-match road swing with a 3-1 (29-27, 25-21, 20-25, 25-19) setback to Toledo Thursday evening at Savage Arena.
With the loss, the Cardinals fall to 14-4 (2-1 Mid-American Conference) on the season. The Rockets improve to 8-8 (1-2 MAC) with the victory.
Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Alex Fuelling (Decatur, Ind./Bellmont/Morehead State) led the Ball State attack with 16 kills, while adding nine digs and four total block (two solo and two assists).
Redshirt sophomore middle Hayley Benson (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Bradley) added 13 kills and a .429 (13-1-28) attack percentage, while senior middle Mindy Marx (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven) blasted 10 kills marking the sixth time in the last seven matches she has tallied double-digit kills.
Senior setter Jacqui Seidel (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) logged her seventh double-double of the season with 40 assists and a career-high and team-best 21 digs.
Senior libero Catie Fredrich (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls) also collected double-digit with 16 on the night.
Lauren Rafdal led the Toledo attack with a career-best and match-high 28 kills, while Ellen Hays paced all players with a career-best 31 digs. Overall, the Rockets connected for a .239 (61-22-163) attack percentage in the match, while limiting the Cardinals to a .177 (57-28-164) rate of success.
The Cardinals held an early 10-7 lead in the opening set after a kill from Benson, only to see the Rockets answer with the next three points to tie the score. The frame remained deadlocked, at 16-16, before a two blocks and a pair of Rafdal kills gave Toledo the next four points and a 20-16 advantage.
Trailing 23-19, the Cardinals used kills from Benson and Fuelling, a UT attack error and an ace from Fredrich to battle back and even the score at 23. Toledo responded with a kill from Brooke Frazer to stop the BSU run and reach set-point, only to have Marx blast a kill on the next rally to keep the Cardinals alive.
Despite reaching a set-point of their own, at 27-26 after a kill from Marx, the Cardinals could not complete the comeback, eventually dropping the frame 29-27.
Toledo continued to carry the momentum to open the second set, pulling ahead 4-1. The Rockets would go on to hold a five-point lead at the 15-10 mark, only to see Ball State battle back once again and tie the score at 17. BSU took its first lead of the set moments later, at 19-18, off a Toledo attack error.
Unfortunately, Toledo answered with the next three points and went on to win the game 25-21 on a Rafdal blast.
Trailing 5-3 in the third set, the Cardinals used two markers from Benson and a kill from Seidel to help rattle off the next five points and take an 8-5 lead. Ball State continued to hold the momentum in the middle of the frame, building a 20-12 advantage.
Toledo would rally back within four, at 21-17, only to see Ball State senior opposite Lauren Grant (Eagan, Minn./Eastview/Cincinnati) smash a kill and combine with Marx for back-to-back blocks to help BSU reach set-point at 24-17. The Rockets countered with the next three points, only to have Fuelling deliver the knockout punch giving Ball State the set at 25-20.
Ball State found itself trailing 7-3 early in the fourth frame, but would manage to battle its way back to a one-point deficit at 13-12. Following a UT timeout, the Rockets would regain the momentum by scoring the next three points. The Cardinals managed to score the next two points, making the score 16-14, but Toledo posted three straight to force a BSU timeout at 19-14.
Fuelling and Benson would combine for a block out of the break to momentarily halt the Toledo run, but the hosts scored the next four points and went on to win the set 25-19 and the match 3-1.
The Ball State women’s volleyball team opens the home portion of its 2013 Mid-American Conference slate Saturday, with a 7 p.m. first serve versus Buffalo at Worthen Arena.