►THE WEEK AHEAD: The Ball State women's volleyball team will close the home portion of its 2012 Mid-American Conference schedule this weekend when it hosts Western Michigan (Friday @ 7 p.m.) and Northern Illinois (Sunday @ 1 p.m.) ... Sunday will serve as senior day for the Cardinals who will honor Kara Bates, Claire Farkas, Lauren Schlaker and Lisa Scott prior to the start of the match.
►FOLLOW THE ACTION: Ball State Sports Link Radio WCRD 91.3 FM will cover both of this weekend's matches live from Worthen Arena ... Adam Fox will call the play-by-play action, while Donnie Kolakowski and Bryan Lord deliver the color commentary ... Both matches will be streamed live for free on BallStateSports.com ... BallStateSports.com All Access Live Video will be available for both matches as well, with subscriptions starting at $9.95 a month ... In addition, live stats are also available for all of Ball State's home matches.
►WITH FOUR TO GO: With four matches remaining before the 2012 MAC Tournament, Ball State is holding the No. 7 slot for the eight-team tournament field with a 6-6 league record ... The Cardinals still have a shot at winning the MAC West Division, as Friday's opponent Western Michigan (9-3 MAC) holds the top spot and Sunday's foe Northern Illinois is second at (7-5 MAC) ... Ball State cannot, however, win the league's overall title as Ohio currently boasts an 11-1 MAC mark ... Directly behind the Cardinals in the MAC tournament race are Eastern Michigan (5-7 MAC), which currently holds the No. 8 slot, Miami (4-8 MAC) and Kent State (3-9 MAC) ... EMU and Miami currently hold the head-to-head tiebreakers over BSU, while the Cardinals won the lone meeting versus KSU this season.
►CARDINALS ALL-TIME: Ball State enters Friday's match with an 801-514-2 (.609) all-time record after earning wins at Toledo and Buffalo last week ... BSU boasts a 62-25 (.713) mark under third-year head coach Steve Shondell, including a 32-12 (.727) record in Mid-American Conference play.
►BALL STATE IN THE MAC: With a 3-1 victory at Ohio (Oct. 14, 2011), Ball State became just the second women's volleyball program in league history to collect 300 Mid-American Conference victories ... With a 6-6 MAC record this season, BSU enters Friday's match with a 312-155 (.668) all-time record in conference matches ... BSU's record is the second-best in league history, trailing only Western Michigan's 326-141 (.698) all-time MAC mark ... Northern Illinois is third with a 197-119 (.623) all-time MAC record.
►FROM THE NEST: With an 8-4 home record so far this season, Ball State maintains a 216-61 (.780) all-time record in matches played in Worthen Arena, including a 160-34 (.825) mark versus Mid-American Conference teams.
►VS. WESTERN MICHIGAN: After scoring a 3-1 (25-11, 25-21, 20-25, 19-25) win Sept. 29 in Kalamazoo, Mich., the Western Michigan Broncos hold a 40-38 lead in the all-time series versus Ball State ... The Cardinals, however, hold a 21-13 lead in matches played in Muncie, including a 16-5 advantage in Worthen Arena ... BSU has won its last two home matches in the series, including a 3-1 (25-21, 25-19, 20-25, 25-19) victory Oct. 1, 2011.
►VS. NORTHERN ILLINOIS: The Northern Illinois Huskies have a slim 28-27 advantage in the all-time series against Ball State thanks to a 3-1 (22-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-17) win in DeKalb, Ill., Sept. 28 ... The Cardinals, however, own a 14-6 lead in matches played in Muncie, including a 12-3 mark in Worthen Arena ... Ball State has won the last three matches played on its home court, including a thrilling 3-2 (25-21, 19-25, 11-25, 25-23, 15-9) come-from-behind victory Sept. 30, 2011.
►SCOUTING THE CARDINALS: Ball State enters the week holding the No. 7 slot in the race to the MAC tournament with a 13-12 (6-6 MAC) record ... In a pair of road matches last week, the Cardinals won a pair of five set contests at Toledo and Buffalo ... Kara Bates leads the Ball State attack and ranks fourth in the MAC with a 3.81 kills-per-set average, while Lisa Scott is second among BSU's starters at 2.48 ... Setters Jacqui Seidel and Jenna Spadafora have helped the BSU offense rank third in the MAC with a .226 team hitting percentage ... Catie Fredrich paces the BSU backcourt and ranks third in the league with a 4.96 digs-per-set average ... As a team, Ball State is limiting its opponents to a .198 hitting mark which ranks BSU's defense sixth in the MAC.
►SCOUTING THE BRONCOS: Western Michigan enters the week holding the No. 3 slot in the race to the MAC tournament with a 16-9 (9-3 MAC) record ... Last week, WMU swept both Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan at home ... Jessica Brown paces the Broncos attack with a 3.26 kills-per-set average to rank 10th in the MAC, while Ali Gossen is second at 2.75 ... Terin Norris has set the WMU offense to a .232 hitting mark this season, which ranks second among the 12 MAC teams ... Lena Oliver has a team-best 4.97 digs-per-set average which ranks second in the league ... The Western Michigan defense has allowed opponents to connect for a .210 hitting mark which ranks eighth in the league.
►SCOUTING THE HUSKIES: Northern Illinois enters the week holding the No. 4 slot in the race to the MAC tournament with a 16-12 (7-5 MAC) record ... The Huskies travel to Toledo Friday, before coming to Muncie Sunday ... In a pair of home matches last week, NIU lost to Eastern Michigan (1-3) before topping Central Michigan (3-0) ... MacKenzie Roddy paces the Northern Illinois attack with a 3.40 kills-per-set average to rank seventh in the MAC, while Meghan Romo is second on the squad and eighth in the league at 3.37 ... Alexis Gonzalez has set the Huskies offense to a .207 hitting mark this season, which ranks seventh in the league ... Amber Walker anchors the NIU backcourt with a 4.75 digs-per-set average to rank fifth in the MAC ... The Northern Illinois defense currently ranks third in the MAC by limiting opponents to a .186 hitting mark.
►IN THE NCAA STAT RANKINGS: Ball State entered the week ranked 69th in the nation with a 13.67 team kills-per-set average, while its .226 hitting percentage is 87th among the 330 NCAA Division I programs ... Individually, Jacqui Seidel ranks 29th in the nation with her 11.18 assists-per-set average, Catie Fredrich is 63rd with a 4.96 digs-per-set average, Kara Bates is 75th with her 3.81 kills-per-set average and Lisa Scott is 89th with her .347 hitting mark.
►DOMINATING THE MAC: Senior middle hitter Lisa Scott has found her grove in the Ball State lineup since the beginning of league play, ranking second in the MAC with a .365 hitting percentage in BSU's 12 conference matches ... Northern Illinois' Sarah Angelos is first in MAC-only contests with a .386 hitting effort ... Scott, who hit .304 in BSU's 13 pre-conference matches, has hit .304-or-better in nine of BSU's 12 league contests, including .400-or-better efforts in seven matches.
►LEADING THE PACK: Senior outside hitter Kara Bates has led the Ball State attack in kills 19 times this season, including 16 of the last 19 matches ... She posted a career-high 24 kills at Northern Colorado (Sept. 8), while collecting 19 kills in five other matches ... Bates had smashed double-digit kills in 22 of BSU's 25 matches this season, including each of the last 17 matches ... A 2011 First Team All-MAC selection, Bates currently ranks fourth in the MAC with a 3.81 kills-per-set average.
►WELCOME BACK LIBERO: After missing her first career match versus Ohio (Oct. 13), junior Catie Fredrich has posted 20-or-more digs in each of the four matches since her return ... She tallied a career-high 33 digs in BSU's match at Miami (Oct. 20), while logging 21 digs at Bowling Green (Oct. 19), 27 digs at Toledo (Oct. 25) and 24 digs at Buffalo (Oct. 27) ... She has also turned in a stellar .989 reception percentage over the span, successfully passing 91 of the 92 service attempts she has faced.
►DIGGING DEEP: With 51 digs last week, Catie Fredrich moved to sixth in program history with 1,270 career digs ... Fredrich is 40 digs shy of passing Kelly Cochran's (2003-06) career total of 1,309 for fifth on BSU's all-time list ... Fredrich's 65 career matches with double-figure digs ranks sixth on BSU's career charts, while her 3.97 career digs-per-set average is fourth and her 18 career matches with 20-or-more digs is fifth.
►BLOCK PARTY: Beginning with her career-high 13 total blocks at Bowling Green (Oct. 19), Lisa Scott has been on a roll at the net, averaging 1.47 blocks per set over the past four matches ... The Cardinals' leading blocker this season at 0.90 blocks per set, Scott has tallied 85 total blocks this season ... Including her three seasons at Maryland, Scott has tallied 431 total blocks over her career, including 89 solo blocks and 342 block assists ... Had she played at BSU her entire career, Scott's career blocking total would rank fifth in Ball State annals.
►THE SENIOR DEFENDERS: Claire Farkas has played in a career-high 19 matches in 2012, while recording her first career kill versus Wright State (Sept. 15) and earning a career-high 12 digs against Eastern Michigan (Oct. 6) ... Lauren Schlaker has played in a career-best 23 matches, serving up a career-high two aces versus Wright State and adding 17 digs on the year.