MUNCIE, Ind. - - The Ball State women’s volleyball team rebounded from a tough Thursday loss with a dominating 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-15) sweep of visiting Buffalo Saturday night at Worthen Arena.
In improving to 15-4 (3-1 Mid-American Conference), the Cardinals posted one of their best offensive performances of the season by connecting for a .346 (47-11-104) rate of success against a Bulls (14-3/2-2 MAC) defense which entered the week ranked second in the nation in blocking.
"It was a good match to bounce back from a real tough loss Thursday night,” said Ball State head coach Steve Shondell. “I was really pleased with the way we came out and focused tonight. We had really good intensity and I thought our defense was solid. We dug a lot more balls and made plays tonight that we did not make Thursday at Toledo. Offensively, I thought our left sides really carried us and that was great to see.”
Leading the charge on offense was redshirt sophomore outside hitter Alex Fuelling (Decatur, Ind./Bellmont/Morehead State) with a match-high 14 kills and a .481 (14-1-27) attack percentage. Fuelling also logged nine digs and two of BSU’s four blocks.
Also turning in a solid offensive match was senior outside hitter Kylee Baker (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) with 13 kills and a .303 (13-3-33) attack percentage. She also served up two of Ball State’s six aces.
Senior setter Jacqui Seidel (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) was the catalyst for the Ball State offense, handing out 37 assists and keeping the Buffalo blockers guessing wrong most of the night. She also served up three aces and collected four digs.
In the backcourt, senior libero Catie Fredrich (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls) led all players with 16 digs, while sophomore defensive specialist Kati Vasalakis (Yorktown, Ind./Yorktown) added a season-high 10.
"I decided to go with my senior line-up tonight to give them an opportunity, because I know this is it for them, it's a big match for them,” added Shondell. “We really needed to have this match tonight, so I went with Kylee and she responded with 13 kills. Alex was really good on the outside as well."
Buffalo, which entered the match ranked second in the nation with a 3.13 blocks-per-set average, posted just four total blocks in the contest. Dana Musil and Tahleia Bishop tied for team-high honors with seven kills apiece, while Kelly Svoboda collected a team-best 12 digs.
For the night, the Ball State defense limited the Bulls’ offense to a .149 (29-15-94) rate of success..
Baker got the ball rolling for the Cardinals in the opening set by smashing a kill right out of the gate to help BSU post the match’s first five points. Ball State took its largest lead of the set at the 12-4 mark off a kill from Fuelling, before going on to win the frame 25-18.
Set two saw Buffalo score three of the first four points and maintain a two-point edge at 8-6. However, two kills from Baker helped spark a Ball State rally, as the Cardinals scored the next four points to take their first lead at 10-8. Buffalo would reclaim one-point leads on two occasions (13-12 and 14-13), only to see the score move to a 17-17 tie.
Fuelling would break the final tie with a kill, sparking an 8-2 set-winning rally from the Cardinals. Baker would cap the run with a set-winning kill at 25-19.
With the score tied at 3-3 in the third set, a kill from Fuelling and back-to-back UB attack errors proved costly for the guest as the fell behind 6-3 and never recovered. Leading by four points at the 18-14 mark, the Cardinals used two kills from Marx over the next three plays to put the set out of reach with what turned out to be a six-point rally.
After a pair of Buffalo points, sophomore setter Jenna Spadafora (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) dumped the ball over the Buffalo block for the frame (25-15) and match (3-0) winner.
The Ball State women’s volleyball team returns to action Friday, when it hosts MAC West Division rival Western Michigan in a 7 p.m. first serve at Worthen Arena. All fans will receive FREE admission to the contest.