WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - - The Ball State women's volleyball team saw its season come to an end in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship, as the Cardinals suffered a 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-20) setback to Louisville at Purdue's Holloway Gymnasium Friday evening.
"We knew coming in that Louisville is a strong team," said Ball State head coach Steve Shondell. "They did a great job defending our left side hitters. I thought Louisville's defense was the difference in the match, as they made a lot of outstanding defensive plays. Our defense was solid, but it was not as good as Louisville's. We competed hard, but often times matches come down to defense and they out-dug and out-blocked us which tells the story of the match."
BSU, which was playing in its eighth NCAA Tournament and first since 2002, ends its season with a 25-8 overall record. U of L, which was playing in 13th straight tournament and 22nd overall, improves to 24-8 and will battle the winner of No. 5 seed Purdue and Morehead State in Saturday's 7:30 p.m. NCAA Tournament second round match.
Playing in what turned out to be their final collegiate match, senior middle blockers Kelsey Brandl and Jennifer Boyd both turned in strong efforts. Brandl paced the Ball State offense with 13 kills, while Boyd hit a team-best .471 with eight kills on 17 swings with no errors.
Brandl, a three-time First Team All-Mid-American Conference honoree, finished her career ranked third in program history with a .340 hitting percentage, while her 920 career kills rank 12th. Boyd's .281 career hitting mark goes down as the 11th-best effort in program history.
McGinnis played in all 126 matches over her career, while playing in 460 of a possible 471 sets which ranks sixth in BSU annals. McGinnis is also one of only three players in program history to record 1,000 career assists and 1,000 career digs, ranking second in career assists (4,524) and 12th in career digs (1,078). Her 121 career aces are ninth on BSU's all-time list.
Schembra concluded her collegiate career ranked 16th in program history with 914 career digs, while her 39 career matches with double-digit digs rank 17th.
Sophomore libero Catie Fredrich paced the Ball State defense with 14 digs, while adding a service ace. Fredrich finished the season with 562 digs which is the ninth-best single-season total in program history.
Also playing in their first NCAA Tournament match for Ball State were; senior outside hitter Kara Bates (four kills, nine digs, two total blocks and an ace), sophomore right side Lauren Grant (six kills, one dig and a .286 hitting mark), sophomore outside hitter Whitney Heeres (three kills and one dig), sophomore outside hitter Kylee Baker (four digs) and sophomore middle blocker Mindy Marx (one kill).
Louisville's Lola Arslanbekova paced all players with 19 kills, while Emily Juhl added 10. Four players collected double-digit digs for U of L, led by Caitlin Welch's match-high 16.
Louisville was able to limit the Ball State attack to a .116 (36-22-121) hitting mark by collecting 58 digs and nine blocks. On offense, U of L connected for a .304 (45-11-112) rate of success with BSU scoring 47 digs and three blocks. Ball State did have a 3-1 edge in service aces, while both teams posted six service errors.
Louisville scored the first four points of the opening set, before the Cardinals battled back within one at 5-4. However, U of L went on another strong run to pull ahead 14-9. A kill from Bates shifted the momentum back to BSU, while some strong serving from Schembra, including an ace, helped tie the score at 14.
With the score tied at 15 after a Brandl kill, Louisville rattled off the next three points before pulling ahead 23-17. A pair of kills from Brandl and a marker from Heeres helped rally BSU back within two, at 24-22, but Arslanbekova posted a frame-winning kill on the next rally.
The teams played to a 9-9 tie to open the second set, only to have Louisville pull ahead 14-11. Kills from Brandl and Boyd brought BSU within two, at 15-13, but U of L tallied 10 of the final 12 points to win the set 25-15.
Fredrich opened the third set with an ace, while a kill from Bates and two Louisville attack errors helped give BSU an 8-7 advantage. The lead was short-lived, however, as U of L rattled off the next three points to pull ahead 10-8. A Bates kill kept Ball State within one point, at 13-12, but another run from Louisville moved the score to 20-15.
Kills from Marx and Heeres looked to give BSU life at 20-17, but an Arslanbekova kill and block assists extended the lead back to five at 22-17. A block assists from Brandl and Bates cut the lead to 23-20, but Louisville answered with the next two points, winning the set 25-20 and the match 3-0.