MUNCIE, Ind. - - The Ball State women's volleyball team saw its two-match winning streak come to an end Friday night, as it was swept by Mid-American Conference West Division leader Western Michigan 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-11) at Worthen Arena.
BSU drops to 13-13 (6-7 MAC) with the loss, while the Broncos improve to 17-9 (10-3 MAC) and remain in first place in the division.
"Western Michigan came out with a lot of energy and intensity tonight," said Ball State head coach Steve Shondell. "We just were not able to match their level of play. However, we need to put this match behind us and focus on Sunday. We still control our own destiny in the race to the MAC Tournament and can gain a lot of ground over the final three matches of league play."
In tonight's contest, senior outside hitter Kara Bates (Bradley, Ill./Bradley Bourbonnais Community/Maryland) and freshman setter/outside hitter Jenna Spadafora (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) tied for team-high honors with seven kills apiece.
Spadafora posted eight digs, BSU's lone service ace, a block assist and a .250 (7-1-24) hitting mark to go along with her seven kills. Bates added six digs and a block assist to her stat line.
Defensively, junior libero Catie Fredrich (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls) paced the BSU backcourt with 16 digs, marking the 24th time this season she has collected double-digit digs in a match.
Western Michigan was led offensively by Jessica Brown's 12 kills, while Ali Gossen collected eight kills and a match-best 19 digs.
Overall, the Broncos held a .220 (43-16-123) to .085 (30-19-129) hitting edge in the match, while out-digging Ball State 67-51. WMU also collected seven service aces to BSU's one.
The Broncos scored the first two points in the opening frame and never looked back, winning the frame 25-17. After falling behind 17-6, the Cardinals would draw within five, at 17-12, after a kill from redshirt freshman opposite hitter Hayley Benson (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Bradley). Unfortunately, WMU responded with the next three points and controlled play from there.
The second set was the closest of the night, with the teams battling to a 5-5 stalemate. However, a 5-0 run gave the guests control of the scoreboard. BSU would claw back within two points, at 10-8, after a kill from junior setter Jacqui Seidel (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East), but could not get over the hump losing the set 25-22.
After the 10-minute intermission, the Broncos came out determined to finish the match quickly, scoring 10 of the first 11 points. Ball State managed to rally within five, at 13-8, after another Seidel kill, only to have the WMU score 12 of the final 15 points and win the set 25-11.
The Ball State women's volleyball team returns to action Sunday, when it hosts Northern Illinois in a 1 p.m. first serve at Worthen Arena. Prior to the start of the match, the Cardinals will recognize its four-member senior class: Kara Bates, Claire Farkas, Lauren Schlaker and Lisa Scott.