►THE WEEK AHEAD: The Ball State women’s volleyball team opens its final home weekend of the 2013 season Friday with a 7 p.m. contest versus Central Michigan ... Saturday, the Cardinals celebrate senior night with a 7 p.m. showdown versus Eastern Michigan.
►FOLLOW THE ACTION: Ball State Sports Link Radio WCRD 91.3 FM will carry both matches this weekend live over the airwaves and online at BallStateSports.com ... Rob Connett will handle the play-by-play duties for WCRD, while Drew Bogs and Andy Wright serve as color analysts ... In addition, video for both matches will be streamed live as part of the Ball State All Access package (with subscriptions starting at $9.95 a month) ... Live stats will also be available and fans can keep up with the program on twitter @BallStateVB.
►CARDINALS ALL-TIME: The Ball State women’s volleyball team enters Friday’s match versus Central Michigan with an 822-524-2 (.611) all-time record ... BSU boasts an 83-35 (.703) mark under fourth-year head coach Steve Shondell, including a 41-17 (.707) record in Mid-American Conference play.
►FROM THE NEST: The Cardinals are 6-1 in home matches this season and own a 222-65 (.774) all-time record in Worthen Arena, including a 164-37 (.816) mark versus MAC teams.
►IN THE MAC: Ball State enters the week with a 326-163 (.667) all-time record in MAC matches, which ranks second among all league schools ... Western Michigan is first with a 342-147 (.699) league mark ... Central Michigan ranks seventh on the list with a 255-234 (.522) all-time MAC record, while Eastern Michigan is eighth at 215-264 (.449).
►FIRST TO 20: With its 3-1 victory over Miami last Saturday, the Ball State women’s volleyball team became the first MAC program, and one of only nine NCAA Division I programs, to reach the 20-win mark this season … Since MAC play began in 1982, the Cardinals have posted 17 20-win regular seasons, which is second in the conference trailing only Western Michigan (19).
►NCAA RPI RANKINGS: Based on the strength of its 20-5 overall record, Ball State is 48th in the latest NCAA Women’s Volleyball RPI Rankings which were released Monday (Oct. 28) ... Ball State is the second-highest program in the MAC, trailing only Ohio (41) ... Central Michigan enters the week ranked 174th, while Eastern Michigan is 127th among the 332 NCAA Division I programs.
►SCOUTING THE CARDINALS: Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Alex Fuelling paces the squad and ranks third in the MAC with a 3.75 kills-per-set average, while redshirt sophomore middle Hayley Benson ranks second in the conference with a .361 attack percentage ... Senior setter Jacqui Seidel and sophomore setter Jenna Spadafora have combined to set the Ball State offense to a .239 attacking mark which ranks third in the league ... In the backcourt, senior libero Catie Fredrich has tallied double-digit digs in 23 of BSU’s 25 matches this season for an average of 4.62 digs per set, which ranks fifth in the league ... As a team, the Ball State defense has held opponents to a combined .151 hitting mark which ranks first in the MAC.
►BALL STATE VERSUS CENTRAL MICHIGAN: The Cardinals hold a 39-30 lead in the all-time series after posting a 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-19) road sweep over the Chippewas Sept. 28 ... Last season, Ball State dropped a pair of hard-fought 3-2 battles to the Chippewas with Central Michigan scoring a 3-2 (25-19, 21-25, 22-25, 25-22, 15-12) win at Worthen Arena Oct. 5 and a 3-2 (29-31, 25-23, 29-27, 24-26, 17-15) victory at McGuirk Arena Nov. 10 ... Ball State holds a 19-12 edge in matches played in Muncie, including a 15-3 mark in Worthen Arena.
►SCOUTING CENTRAL MICHIGAN: The Chippewas enter the weekend with an 11-11 overall record and tied for fourth in the MAC West Division with a 5-5 league mark ... Last week, CMU picked up a pair of home wins over Buffalo (3-0) and Akron (3-1) ... Kaitlyn McIntyre leads the Chippewas and ranks first in the MAC with a 4.10 kills-per-set average, while four other CMU attackers are averaging between 2.10 and 2.15 kills per set ... Kelly Maxwell has set the CMU offense to a .217 attack percentage which ranks the squad fourth in the MAC ... Jenna Coates paces the Central Michigan backcourt with a league-leading 5.58 digs-per-set average ... As a team, the Chippewas defense is limiting opponents to a .195 attack percentage which ranks seventh in the MAC.
►BALL STATE VERSUS EASTERN MICHIGAN: The Cardinals hold a 48-23 lead in the all-time series after posting a 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-23) sweep at EMU Sept. 27 ... The teams split the 2012 regular season series with both squads winning on the road ... The Eagles scored a 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 25-23, 26-24) win at Worthen Arena Oct. 6, while the Cardinals posted a 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 30-28) victory at the Convocation Center Nov. 9 ... Ball State holds a 26-9 advantage in matches played in Muncie, including a 20-4 mark in Worthen Arena despite Eastern Michigan picking up two straight wins on BSU’s home court.
►SCOUTING EASTERN MICHIGAN: The Eagles enter the weekend with a 14-11 overall record and ranked sixth in the MAC West Division with a 4-6 league mark ... Last week, EMU picked up a pair of home wins over Akron (3-0) and Buffalo (3-1) ... Stacey Perinar leads the Eastern Michigan attack with a 2.56 kills-per-set average, while Paige Roback is second at 2.30 ... Jill Briner and Alyssa Davis have combined to set the EMU offense to a .194 rate of success, which has the Eagles ranked ninth in the MAC ... Corynne Smith paces the Eastern Michigan backcourt with a 5.21 digs-per-set average which ranks third in the league ... As a team, the EMU defense is limiting opponents to a .177 attack percentage which ranks fourth in the MAC.
►BUILDING UPON HIS LEGEND: Already an AVCA Hall of Fame inductee before being named the head women’s volleyball coach at Ball State in 2010, Steve Shondell continues to build upon his legend while leading the Cardinals ... Under his guidance, Ball State has posted three of the best five starts to a season in program history ... BSU’s 20-5 overall record in 2013 ties as the fifth-best 25-match start in program history with the 1977, 1994 and 1999 squads … Ball State went 22-3 in its first 25 matches in 2011 and 21-4 in its first 25 matches in 2010, both under Shondell … Ball State also went 21-4 in its first 25 matches in 1993 and 2010.
►FILLING IN: With Ball State’s top two outside hitters out of the lineup due to injury last weekend, senior opposite Lauren Grant stepped up and took control of the Ball State offense, averaging 4.12 kills per set and hitting for a .318 rate of success to help the Cardinals maintain a spot atop the league standings … Grant smashed a career-best 17 kills and struck for a .419 (17-4-31) attack percentage versus Bowling Green (Oct. 25) … She followed with 16 kills and a .229 (16-8-35) rate of success in the win over Miami (Oct. 26) … Grant entered the weekend averaging just 1.62 kills per set, hitting .149 and had only blasted double-figure kills in one of BSU’s first 23 matches this season.
►BACK IN FULL ACTION: Ball State’s lone active outside hitter last weekend, senior Kylee Baker turned in a pair of kill/dig double-doubles despite being the main serving target for BSU’s opponents … Baker, who missed the last 17 matches last season due to injury and has seen limited time in the front row this season, averaged 3.00 digs and 3.00 kills per set, while posting a .987 (74-for-75) reception percentage ... Baker posted 12 kills and 10 digs versus Bowling Green (Oct. 25), while successfully handled 46 serves for a 1.000 reception percentage … The 46 receptions accounted for .582 percent of BGSU’s serves … Baker tallied 12 kills and 14 digs against Miami (Oct. 26) to go with a .966 (28-for-29) reception percentage.
►MORE ON BAKER: Kylee Baker enters her final home weekend as the Cardinals’ active career kills leader at 782 ... Her kill total is 12 shy of breaking into the top 20 on BSU’s all-time career list, while her 2,570 attack attempts tie for ninth on BSU’s career charts ... On defense, Baker’s 934 career digs rank her 15th on Ball State’s career list and leave her 66 digs shy of becoming just the 15th player in program history to record 1,000 career digs.
►HITTING HER MARX: Over the past 19 matches, senior middle Mindy Marx has been one of Ball State’s top offensive players, leading the squad in attack percentage (.381) and ranking second in kills-per-set average (2.74) ... She has blasted double-digit kills in 10 of the last 14 matches, including a career-high 16 in wins over SMU (Sept. 21) and Miami (Oct. 26) ... Marx, who had never connected for double-digit kills in back-to-back matches in her career prior to this season, has logged 60 total blocks during the run which is second on the team.
►MORE ON MARX: Mindy Marx’s career-high .688 (12-1-16) attack percentage at Eastern Michigan (Sept. 27) is the second-best hitting mark in the MAC this season for a player recording at least 12 kills in a match ... In addition, Marx’s .677 (16-2-21) effort against SMU is the third-best effort, giving Marx two of the top three hitting marks in the league this season.
►GOING FOR 2,000: With her season-high 27 digs in last Saturday’s win over Miami, Catie Fredrich upped her career total to 1,802 which is third in program history ... Fredrich could become just the third player in program history to reach 2,000 career digs with 198 more this season ... Fredrich, who has collected double-digit digs in 23 matches this season, is also third in program history in career matches with double-digit digs (94), fourth in career digs-per-set average (4.17) and fourth in career matches with 20-or-more digs (29).
►DISHING THE ROCK: Jacqui Seidel enters her final home weekend ranked ninth in program history with 2,335 career assists ... Ball State’s active leader with 26 career assist/dig double-doubles, Seidel is also eighth in program history with a 7.58 career assists-per-set average ... Seidel dished out a season-high 60 assists in the win over Miami (Oct. 26), and has tallied 30-or-more assists in 14 matches this season.
►THE 20 KILL CLUB: With 20 kills in Ball State’s win at 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.
►THE OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION: Ball State’s 14.60 kills-per-set average this season would 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.
►THREE FOR 20-OR-MORE: In the Oct. 19 win at Ohio, three Ball State players finished the match with 20-or-more digs for just the third time in the rally scoring era ... Alex Fuelling tallied a career-best 23 digs, while senior outside hitter Kylee Baker fell one shy of her career high with 22 ... Catie Fredrich rounded out the group with 21 digs ... The last time Ball State had three-or-more players collect 20-or-more digs in a match was Sept. 30, 2003, in a five-set win over IPFW; Stephanie Keller (30), Sarah Obras (24) and Kelly Cochran (20) ... On Sept. 13, 2003, four players tallied 20-or-more digs in a five set loss vs. Robert Morris; Cochran (39), Keller (36), Obras (22) and Stacie Baldwin (20).
►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.
►THE EMU/CMU TRIP: The Sept. 27-28 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: Ball State’s 11-straight wins, from Sept. 7 vs. Western Illinois through Sept. 28 at Central Michigan, was the longest winning streak under fourth-year head coach Steve Shondell and tied as the 10th-longest in program history ... Prior to the streak, the last time BSU won 11-or-more consecutive matches was during the 2002 season when BSU posted 12-straight victories from Oct. 26–Nov. 30.
► 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 Sept. 27-28 ... 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.
► MAC AWARD SWEEP: For their efforts in guiding the Ball State women’s volleyball team to the CofC Holiday Inn Classic title, Mindy Marx was named the MAC West Division Offensive Player of the Week and Hayley Benson was named the MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 23 ... Marx picked up MAC weekly honors for the second time in her career as she was also named the MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 19, 2011 ... Benson was a first-time MAC award winner.