►THE WEEK AHEAD: The first-place Ball State women’s volleyball team opens the second half of Mid-American Conference play with a five-match homestand beginning Friday versus defending MAC Tournament Champion Bowling Green at 7 p.m. ... Saturday, the Cardinals take on Miami in another 7 p.m. first serve.
►FRIDAY ON SL TV: Ball State Sports Link will televise Friday’s match versus Bowling Green live state-wide on Comcast Indiana 81, as well as locally in Muncie (Comcast 61) and on campus (Cardinal Vision 57) ... In addition, the match will be streamed live and for FREE on BallStateSports.com ... Torey Fox will serve as the play-by-play announcer with Andy Wright serving as the color analyst, while Sydnee Toschlog will produce the match.
►SATURDAY ON SL TV: Ball State Sports Network will televise Saturday’s match versus Miami live on WIPB in Muncie ... In addition, the match will be streamed live as part of the All Access package on BallStateSports.com ... Kevin Thurman will serve as the play-by-play announcer with Chloe Barnes serving as the color analyst.
►ON THE RADIO: Ball State Sports Link Radio WCRD 91.3 FM will carry both matches this weekend live over the airwaves and online for FREE at BallStateSports.com ... Rob Connett will handle the play-by-play duties, while Drew Bogs will serve as a color analyst ... Andy Wright will rejoin the WCRD broadcast Saturday after his stint with SL TV Friday.
►OTHER WAYS TO FOLLOW: Live stats will be available for both matches this weekend at the link provided above ... Fans can also keep up with the program on twitter @BallStateVB.
►DIG PINK: In an effort to help in the battle against breast cancer, the Ball State women’s volleyball team will host its annual “Dig Pink” match Saturday when Miami visits Worthen Arena ... The Cardinals have teamed up with the Side-Out Foundation to take donations for the cause at: https://www.side-out.org/cb/campaigns/campaign/6905
►CARDINALS ALL-TIME: The Ball State women’s volleyball team enters Friday’s match versus Bowling Green with an 821-523-2 (.611) all-time record ... BSU boasts an 82-34 (.707) mark under fourth-year head coach Steve Shondell, including a 40-16 (.714) record in Mid-American Conference play.
►FROM THE NEST: The Cardinals are 5-0 in home matches this season and own a 221-64 (.775) all-time record in Worthen Arena, including a 163-36 (.819) mark versus MAC teams.
►IN THE MAC: The Ball State women’s volleyball team enters the week with a 325-162 (.667) all-time record in Mid-American Conference matches, which ranks second among all league schools ... Western Michigan is first with a 341-146 (.700) league mark ... Bowling Green is fifth with a 267-220 (.548) all-time MAC record, while Miami is fourth at 296-191 (.597).
►NCAA RPI RANKINGS: Based on the strength of its 19-4 overall record, Ball State is 47th in the latest NCAA Women’s Volleyball RPI Rankings which were released Monday (Oct. 21) ... Ball State is the second-highest program in the MAC, trailing only Ohio (45) ... Bowling Green enters the week ranked 70th, while Miami is 154th among the 332 NCAA Division I programs.
►SCOUTING THE CARDINALS: Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Alex Fuelling paces the squad and ranks third in the MAC with a 3.75 kills-per-set average, while redshirt sophomore middle Hayley Benson ranks third in the conference with a .357 attack percentage ... Senior setter Jacqui Seidel and sophomore setter Jenna Spadafora have combined to set the Ball State offense to a .241 attacking mark which ranks third in the league ... In the backcourt, senior libero Catie Fredrich has tallied double-digit digs in 21 of BSU’s 23 matches this season for an average of 4.55 digs per set, which ranks seventh in the league ... As a team, the Ball State defense has held opponents to a combined .150 hitting mark which ranks first in the MAC.
►BALL STATE VERSUS BOWLING GREEN: The Cardinals hold a 37-16-1 lead in the all-time series versus Bowling Green, including three straight wins ... Last season, Ball State handed BGSU its first league loss and only home setback with a 3-1 (25-19, 23-25, 25-18, 25-23) win Oct. 19 in the lone meeting between the two squads ... The Cardinals hold a 16-8 edge in matches played in Muncie, including a 13-3 mark in Worthen Arena.
►SCOUTING BOWLING GREEN: The Falcons enter Friday’s match with a 10-10 overall record and tied for first in the MAC East Division with a 6-2 league ledger ... Last week, BGSU suffered a 3-2 home setback versus Eastern Michigan, before rebounding with a 3-1 home win over Central Michigan ... Lindsey Butterfield leads the Bowling Green attack with a 3.25 kills-per-set average, while Paige Penrod is a close second at 3.01 ... Erica Fullenkamp and Laura Avila have combined to set the Falcons offense to a .190 rate of success, which ranks BGSU 10th in the MAC ... Ashley Dunn paces the Bowling Green backcourt with a 4.56 digs-per-set average ... As a team, the BGSU defense is limiting opponents to a .194 attack percentage which ranks sixth in the MAC.
►BALL STATE VERSUS MIAMI: The Cardinals hold a 41-32 lead in the all-time series versus Miami despite a 3-2 (25-23, 24-26, 18-25, 27-25, 15-11) setback at Millett Hall last season (Oct. 20) ... Prior to the loss, the Cardinals had won two straight in the series ... Ball State holds a 20-13 advantage in matches played in Muncie, including a 12-6 mark in Worthen Arena.
►SCOUTING MIAMI: The RedHawks enter the week with a 10-10 overall record and in fifth place in the MAC East Division with a 2-6 league mark ... Last week, Miami scored a 3-2 home win over Eastern Michigan, before dropping a 3-1 home contest to Central Michigan ... Jenny Ingle paces the squad with a 2.66 kills-per-set average and a .380 attack percentage ... Meg Riley is second on the squad with a 2.49 kills-per-set average and joins with Krista Brakauskas to set the RedHawks to a .205 attack percentage which is sixth in the league ... Madison Hardy paces the Miami backcourt with a 4.22 digs-per-set average ... As a team, the RedHawks defense is limiting opponents to a .201 attack percentage which ranks eighth in the MAC.
►COMING HOME ONE LAST TIME: Bowling Green senior setter Laura Avila, a 2010 Yorktown High School graduate, will be making her final collegiate appearance in Worthen Arena this weekend ... In addition to being a local product, Avila is the daughter of former Ball State men’s volleyball letterwinner Ramon Avila who is a George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Marketing and the founding director of the HH Gregg Center for Professional Selling at Ball State University ... A three-year letterwinner for the Ball State men’s program from 1975-77, Avila was also a teammate of current BSU women’s head coach Steve Shondell.
►BUILDING UPON HIS LEGEND: Already an AVCA Hall of Fame inductee before being named the head women’s volleyball coach at Ball State in 2010, Steve Shondell continues to build upon his legend while leading the Cardinals ... Under his guidance, Ball State has posted three of the best five starts to a season in program history ... BSU’s 19-4 overall record in 2013 ties as the second-best 23-match start in program history with the 1993, 2000 and 2010 squads … BSU’s best 23-match record came in 2011, when the Cardinals went 20-3.
►FUELLING UP: Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Alex Fuelling has made a tremendous impact on both offense and defense over the last two weeks, posting four consecutive kill/dig double-doubles to help Ball State climb into sole possession of first place in the MAC … Over BSU’s last four matches, Fuelling owns team-highs of 3.31 kills, 4.19 digs, 4.00 points and 0.44 aces-per-set … Fuelling has a .967 reception percentage over the span, being serve at a team-high 92 times with just three reception errors.
►THE 20 KILL CLUB: With 20 kills in Ball State’s win at Iowa (Sept. 13), Alex Fuelling became just the fourth player in program history to smash 20-or-more kills in a match at least twice in the 25-point rally scoring era (2008-present) ... Kelsey Brandl (2009-11) accomplished the task five times over her career, including a BSU 25-point rally scoring era record 25 kills at Toledo (Oct. 7, 2010) ... Kara Bates (2011-12) and Julie Breivogel (2006-09) are the only other players to blast 20-or-more kills in a match twice since 2008.
►HITTING HER MARX: Over the past 17 matches, senior middle Mindy Marx has been one of Ball State’s top offensive players, leading the squad in attack percentage (.380) and ranking second in kills-per-set average (2.73) ... She has blasted double-digit kills in nine of the last 12 matches, including a career-high 16 in the win over SMU (Sept. 21) ... Marx, who had never connected for double-digit kills in back-to-back matches in her career prior to this season, also logged a career-best .688 (12-1-16) attack percentage in the win at Eastern Michigan (Sept. 27).
►MORE ON MARX:Mindy Marx’s career-high .688 (12-1-16) attack percentage at Eastern Michigan (Sept. 27) is the second-best hitting mark in the MAC this season for a player recording at least 12 kills in a match ... In addition, Marx’s .677 (16-2-21) effort against SMU is the third-best effort, giving Marx two of the top three hitting marks in the league this season.
►GOING FOR 2,000: With her match-high 24 digs at Central Michigan (Sept. 28), Catie Fredrich climbed into third on Ball State’s career digs chart ... Fredrich, who enters the week with 1,759 career digs, could become just the third player in program history to reach 2,000 career digs with 241 more this season ... Fredrich, who has collected double-digit digs in 21 matches this season, is also third in program history in career matches with double-digit digs (92), fourth in career digs-per-set average (4.15) and fourth in career matches with 20-or-more digs (27).
►THREE FOR 20-OR-MORE: In last Saturday’s win at Ohio, three Ball State players finished the match with 20-or-more digs for just the third time in the rally scoring era ... Alex Fuelling tallied a career-best 23 digs, while senior outside hitter Kylee Baker fell one shy of her career high with 22 ... Catie Fredrich rounded out the group with 21 digs ... The last time Ball State had three-or-more players collect 20-or-more digs in a match was Sept. 30, 2003, in a five-set win over IPFW; Stephanie Keller (30), Sarah Obras (24) and Kelly Cochran (20) ... On Sept. 13, 2003, four players tallied 20-or-more digs in a five set loss vs. Robert Morris; Cochran (39), Keller (36), Obras (22) and Stacie Baldwin (20).
►FROM BEHIND THE LINE: Ball State enters Friday’s match against Bowling Green as the third-best serving team in the MAC with 116 aces for a 1.41 aces-per-set average ... Three Cardinals enter the week ranked in the top 10 in the MAC in serving, with Jacqui Seidel in second (0.35 aces per set), Kylee Baker in third (0.33) and Alex Fuelling (0.29) in seventh ... Overall, Seidel’s 27 aces pace the league.
►DEFENDING THE SERVE: Ball State’s defense against the serve is also second in the MAC, as the Cardinals are only getting aced 0.89 times a set ... Ball State has just 73 reception errors this season and is +43 in aces to reception errors ... Ohio is second in plus/minus at +40 (105 aces to 65 reception errors) ... Bowling Green is seventh in plus/minus at +3 (81 to 78), while Miami is fifth at +18 (102 to 84).
►MORE ON THE OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION: Ball State’s 14.54 kills-per-set average this season would rank as the ninth-best average in program history, the fifth-best in the rally scoring era (2001-Pres.) and the best in the 25-point rally scoring era (2008-Pres.) ... Ball State’s best kills-per-set average is 17.44 in 1999, while its best rally scoring average is 16.15 in 2001 ... The Cardinals’ best mark in the 25-point era is 13.89 in 2011.
►DISHING THE ROCK AT A RECORD PACE: Jacqui Seidel turn in one of the best matches of her career in setting the Cardinals to a 3-0 win over IUPUI (Sept. 17) ... Seidel’s 51 assists in the match were the most for a Ball State setter in a three-set contest in the rally scoring era, topping the previous mark of 46 set by Brittany McGinnis versus Murray State Sept. 3, 2011.
►SPEAKING OF RECORDS:Hayley Benson turned in the Cardinals’ second record-setting performance of the week with a career-high 14 total blocks against SMU (Sept. 21) ... In helping Ball State post a season-high 17 total blocks in the four-set victory, Benson racked up career-highs of five solo blocks and nine block assists ... The 14 total blocks tie as the most for a Ball State player in the rally scoring era with Christine Kennedy’s effort versus IUPUI on Sept. 6, 2006.
►THE EMU/CMU TRIP: The Sept. 27-28 road sweep of Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan marked just the third time the Cardinals have swept the EMU/CMU road weekend since the current MAC travel format was established in 2004 ... The Cardinals won the inaugural road weekend in 2004 by scores of 3-0 at CMU and 3-1 at EMU on their way to a MAC West Division title ... In 2010, Ball State used wins of 3-2 at EMU and 3-1 at CMU to help capture the MAC West Division and MAC Regular Season championships.
►THE STREAK: Ball State’s 11-straight wins, from Sept. 7 vs. Western Illinois through Sept. 28 at Central Michigan, was the longest winning streak under fourth-year head coach Steve Shondell and tied as the 10th-longest in program history ... Prior to the streak, the last time BSU won 11-or-more consecutive matches was during the 2002 season when BSU posted 12-straight victories from Oct. 26–Nov. 30.
► FREDRICH DOES IT AGAIN: For the second time this season, and eighth time in her career, Catie Fredrich was named the MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week after helping guide the Cardinals to wins at EMU and CMU Sept. 27-28 ... In helping Ball State post a 2-0 start to MAC play, Fredrich logged 7.67 digs per set and a perfect 1.000 (29-for-29) reception percentage ... Her effort in the back court also helped limit BSU’s opponents to a combined .047 (51-40-232) attack percentage ... Fredrich was also named the MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week Sept. 16.
► MAC AWARD SWEEP: For their efforts in guiding the Ball State women’s volleyball team to the CofC Holiday Inn Classic title, Mindy Marx was named the MAC West Division Offensive Player of the Week and Hayley Benson was named the MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 23 ... Marx picked up MAC weekly honors for the second time in her career as she was also named the MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 19, 2011 ... Benson was a first-time MAC award winner.