GENEVA, Ohio - - Despite five players with double-digit kills for the second straight match, the Ball State women’s volleyball team suffered a 3-1 (17-25, 26-24, 25-20, 25-21) setback to Western Michigan in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 Mid-American Conference Tournament at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
With the loss, the Cardinals finish the 2013 season with a 24-8 overall record. The Broncos improve to 17-13 with the win and will battle No. 7 seed Eastern Michigan who upset No. 2 seed Toledo in five sets earlier in the day.
Leading the Ball State offense in Friday’s loss was senior middle Mindy Marx (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven) with 13 kills and a .462 (13-1-26) attack percentage. She also tallied a team-best six total blocks.
Senior setter Jacqui Seidel (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) also had a strong match, dishing out 50 assists and posting 11 digs for her 12th double-double of the season. She also scored four kills and five blocks in the contest, while leading the Ball state offense to a .218 (61-24-170) attack percentage as a team.
Senior opposite Lauren Grant (Eagan, Minn./Eastview/Cincinnati) and redshirt sophomore middle Hayley Benson (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Bradley) each finished the match with 12 kills, while redshirt sophomore outside Alex Fuelling (Decatur, Ind./Bellmont/Morehead State) and sophomore outside Jenna Spadafora (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) added 10 apiece.
Fuelling would also collect 13 digs in the match for her 15th double-double of the season. Senior libero Catie Fredrich (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls) paced the Cardinals with 17 digs, while senior outside Kylee Baker (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) added 13.
Richelle Ranney led the Broncos attack with a match-high 16 kills, while libero Lena Oliver collected a match-best 27 digs. As a team, the Broncos finished the night with a .247 (59-20-158) attack percentage.
A Broncos attack error gave the Cardinals this first point of the match, while kills from Grant and Seidel pushed the edge to 4-1. Ball State would go on to take a 9-4 lead following back-to-back kills from Fuelling. WMU scored the next two points, only to have BSU rattle off four of the next five. Ball State controlled play from there, winning the set 25-17 on a Western Michigan attack error.
With the score of the second set tied at two, four consecutive Western Michigan points forced the Cardinals to call an early timeout trailing 6-2. The Broncos would continue to hold the lead through much of the set until a late Ball State rally evened the score at 24. Unfortunately, WMU scored the next two points to escape with a 26-24 second-set victory.
After surrendering the first four points and trailing 10-6 in the third set, the Cardinals rallied back to take a 13-12 lead thanks in part to a block and two kills from Marx. From there, the teams battled to a 17-17 stalemate. However, back-to-back blocks from MAC Freshman of the Year Ave Stout helped the Broncos score the next two points in what turned out to be a 5-0 WMU run. Stout would close out the set at 25-20 with a kill.
The teams battled to an 11-11 stalemate in the fourth set, before the Cardinals gained some momentum with a 5-1 run. Ball State held a three-point lead at the 19-17 mark, before a kill from Sheffer and three markers from Alysia Baznik helped WMU reach match-point with a 7-1 run. BSU was able to hold off the first match point, before Sheffer ended the contest with a 13th marker of the night at 25-21.