MUNCIE, Ind. - - The Ball State women's volleyball team suffered a 3-0 (25-14, 25-20, 25-21) loss to Mid-American Conference West Division rival Northern Illinois in a senior day matinee Sunday at Worthen Arena.
With the loss, the Cardinals fall to 13-14 (6-8 MAC) on the year. The defending MAC regular season champion Huskies improve to 18-12 (9-5 MAC).
With one week remaining in the MAC season, Ball State needs to win one of its final two league contests next week, or have Miami (4-10 MAC) loss one of its remaining two, to secure a berth in the 2012 MAC Tournament which runs Nov. 16-18 at SPIRE in Geneva, Ohio.
In Sunday's showdown versus NIU, senior middle hitter Lisa Scott (McLean, Va./Langley/Maryland) led the Ball State offense with 10 kills, while connecting for a .444 (10-2-18) hitting mark.
Freshman setter/outside Jenna Spadafora (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) was next on the attacking list for BSU with nine kills, while also scoring four digs and a solo block.
For the match, the Ball State offense connected for a .217 (39-14-115) hitting effort, with junior setter Jacqui Seidel (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) and sophomore setter Jaclyn Fullove (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrop) dishing out 21 and 10 assists, respectively. Fullove's 10 assists were a career high, and she also tallied a dig playing in a majority of the final set.
Also celebrating their senior days were outside hitter Kara Bates (Bradley, Ill./Bradley Bourbonnais Community/Maryland) with six kills and five digs, defensive specialist/outside hitter Claire Farkas (Granger, Ind./Marian) with one kill and one dig and senior defensive specialist Lauren Schlaker (Oswego, Ill./Oswego East) who kept all six of her service attempts in play.
Meghan Romo led the NIU attack with 15 kills, while Mary Kurisch and MacKenzie Roddy added 12 and 11, respectively. Huskies' libero Amber Walker led all players with 25 digs.
Northern Illinois finished the match with a .352 (55-12-122) hitting mark, and out-dug Ball State 57-47. BSU managed to out-block the Huskies 5.0-4.0.
An NIU service error would give Ball State the first point of the match, while a kill from Spadafora helped BSU hold a 2-1 edge. Unfortunately, the Huskies answered with a 6-2 run and eventually pulled ahead 19-6. The Cardinals answered with six of the next seven points, making the score 20-12, but would get no closer, dropping the set 25-14.
Northern Illinois opened the second set with a 6-2 run, before pulling ahead by seven at the 18-11 mark. Ball State would battle back within four, at 24-20, only to have an attack error end the set on the next rally.
The Huskies controlled play again early in the third set, pulling ahead 6-2 for a second straight frame. NIU would maintain the three-point lead at the 20-17 mark, only to have a pair of attack errors and a kill from Bates tie the score at 20. Ball State could not hold the momentum, however, as the guests scored five of the next six points to end the set 25-21 and the match 3-0.The Ball State women's volleyball team ends the Mid-American Conference portion of the regular season next weekend, when it travels to Eastern Michigan (Friday) and Central Michigan (Saturday). Both contests are set to start at 7 p.m.