BUFFALO, N.Y. - - The Ball State women's volleyball team came up with another late escape Saturday night, pulling away in the fifth set to score a 3-2 (25-20, 25-16, 24-26, 20-25, 15-8) victory at Buffalo in another key Mid-American Conference match-up for the Cardinals.
With the win, the Cardinals move their overall record back above the .500 mark at 13-12, while the team's MAC record evens out at 6-6. The Bulls fall to 8-16 (2-10 MAC) with the loss.
Three Cardinals finished the match with double-digit kills, led by the match-high 19 senior outside hitter Kara Bates (Bradley, Ill./Bradley Bourbonnais Community/Maryland) collected. Bates also served up a pair of aces and recorded a pair of blocks, while adding eight digs.
Also scoring double-digit kills for the Cardinals were senior middle hitter Lisa Scott (McLean, Va./Langley/Maryland) and junior outside hitter Lauren Grant (Eagan, Minn./Eastview/Cincinnati) with 12 and 10, respectively. Scott would pace all players with seven total blocks, while adding a career-high nine digs and hitting .429 (12-3-21).
Junior setter Jacqui Seidel (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) finished the night with her 13th double-double of the season by handing out 53 assists and racking up 16 digs. Seidel ran the BSU offense to a .203 (62-26-177) rate of success.
Dana Musil and Tahleia Bishop tied for team-high honors with 15 kills apiece for Buffalo, while Kelly Svoboda collected a match-high 28 digs.
The BSU defense, which tallied 13.0 team blocks, limited the UB offense to a .168 (59-28-184) hitting effort, and also held an 87-81 advantage in digs. BSU also out-aced the Bulls 5-1.
With the score of the opening set tied at 11, the Cardinals capitalized on a Bates kill and three UB errors to pull ahead 15-11. Ball State would play to a six-point advantage at the 18-12 mark, while going on to win the frame 25-20 on a kill from redshirt freshman outside hitter Hayley Benson (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Bradley).
The teams played to a 6-6 stalemate in the second stanza before the Cardinals gained control of the momentum at 8-6 thanks to kills from Bates and junior middle hitter Mindy Marx (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven). Ball State would then cruise to a 25-16 set victory capped by a Bates marker.
Ball State looked poised to end the match in three, holding a 21-16 lead in the third frame. Unfortunately, the hosts answered with a 10-3 run to win the set 26-24 and force a fourth.
Buffalo scored seven of the first eight points in the fourth set, only to see BSU battle back within one at 7-6. Ball State would go on to take a 12-10 advantage after another Bates marker, while a kill from freshman setter/outside hitter Jenna Spadafora (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) gave BSU a 17-14 edge. However, the Cardinals were once again unable to close out the set, as the Bulls ended the frame with an 11-3 run to send the match to five.
Buffalo kept the score of the fifth game close early, trailing by one at the 5-4 mark. However, Ball State managed to regain its momentum from the opening two sets and score the next five points to pull ahead 9-4. From there, the Cardinals would score six of the final 10 points to win the set 15-8 and the match 3-2 on Bates' match-high 19th kill of the night.The Ball State women's volleyball team returns to Worthen Arena Friday, when it hosts Western Michigan in a 7 p.m. first serve.