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Volleyball Wins Active Ankle Crown With Sweep Of UNC

   MUNCIE, Ind. - - The Ball State women’s volleyball team captured the 2014 Ball State Active Ankle Challenge title with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-23) sweep of Northern Colorado Saturday evening at Worthen Arena.

   The Cardinals (2-1), who earlier in the day suffered a 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 20-25, 25-22) setback to tournament runner-up Eastern Illinois (2-1), won the event with a .700 (7-3) set winning percentage. EIU finished second at .667 (8-4), followed by Northern Colorado (2-1) at .500 (6-6) and Western Illinois (0-3) at .100 (1-9).

   “I am really proud of the way the team battled against Northern Colorado after dropping a tough match versus Eastern Illinois this morning,” said Ball State head coach Steve Shondell. “I thought we needed to do something big tonight after coming out flat this morning. This evening we played the kind of volleyball we have seen in practice. I think our team looked like themselves and it was good to see.”

   For her efforts over the two-day event, Ball State’s Kelly Hopkins (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo) was named the tournament’s MVP. She was joined on the all-tournament squad by teammates Jenna Spadafora (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) and Alex Fuelling (Decatur, Ind./Bellmont/Morehead  State); Eastern Illinois’ Stephanie Wallace and Chelsea Lee; Northern Colorado’s Andrea Spaustat and Western Illinois’ Molly Murphy.

   The Ball State women’s volleyball team returns to action Friday, when it visits Laramie, Wyo., for the UniWyo Wyoming Invite. The Cardinals will battle Montana (10 a.m. MT) and host Wyoming (7 p.m. MT) on the opening day of the event.

   For the most up-to-date news on Ball State women’s volleyball, follow @BallStateSports, @BallStateWVB and @SteveShondell on Twitter.

MATCH 2 RECAP: Ball State 3 – Northern Colorado 0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-23)

   Fuelling led the Ball State attack against the Bears, posting a match-best 11 kills and adding seven digs, while Hopkins collected her third double-digit kill total of the tournament at 10.

   Redshirt junior middle blocker Hayley Benson (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Bradley) turned in a dominating performance at the net, collecting a match-best seven total blocks to go along with nine kills for a match-high 13.5 points.

   Spadafora added her first double-double of the season, dishing out 26 assists and earning a team-best 11 digs, while also adding five total blocks and four kills in a strong all-around effort.

   As a team, the Cardinals limited the UNC attack to a .108 rate of success to secure the victory.  

MATCH 1 RECAP: Eastern Illinois 3 – Ball State 1

   Hopkins led the Ball State attack against the Panthers, blasting a career-high 13 kills and a .417 (13-3-24) attack percentage. Fuelling and Benson also posted double-digit kills for the Cardinals, with 11 and 10, respectively.

   In the backcourt, junior libero Kati Vasalakis (Yorktown, Ind./Yorktown) paced all players with a career-high 24 digs.

   In picking up the win, Eastern Illinois limited Ball State to a .143 (47-26-147) attack percentage, while connecting for a .296 (61-19-142) rate of success. EIU’s Abby Saalfrank led all players with 20 kills.

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