►THE WEEK AHEAD: The Ball State women’s volleyball team closes out the 2013 regular season with road matches at Northern Illinois (Friday at 6 p.m. CT) and Western Michigan (Saturday at 7 p.m.) this weekend.
►FOLLOW THE ACTION: Ball State Sports Link Radio WCRD 91.3 FM is slated to carry both of this weekend’s matches live over the airwaves and online at BallStateSports.com ... Rob Connett will handle the play-by-play duties for WCRD, while Drew Bogs and Andy Wright serve as color analysts ... In addition, live video and live stats will be provided by the host institution for each match at the links above ... Fans can also keep up with the program on twitter @BallStateVB.
►CARDINALS ALL-TIME: The Ball State women’s volleyball team enters Friday’s match at Northern Illinois with an 824-526-2 (.610) all-time record ... BSU boasts an 85-37 (.697) mark under fourth-year head coach Steve Shondell, including a 43-19 (.694) record in Mid-American Conference play.
►FROM THE NEST: The Cardinals finished the home portion of its 2013 schedule with an 8-2 record in Worthen Arena ... Ball State owns a 224-66 (.772) all-time record in Worthen Arena, including a 166-38 (.814) mark versus MAC teams.
►IN THE MAC: Ball State enters the week with a 328-165 (.665) all-time record in MAC matches, which ranks second among all league schools ... Western Michigan is first with a 345-148 (.700) league mark ... Northern Illinois is third on the list based on winning percentage with a 209-133 (.611) all-time MAC record.
►FIRST TO 20: With its 3-1 victory over Miami (Oct. 26), Ball State became the first MAC program to reach the 20-win mark this season ... With a 22-7 overall record, Ball State’s .759 winning percentage is currently 36th in the country ... In addition, BSU is one of only 21 NCAA Division I programs to record at least 22 wins this season … Since MAC play began in 1982, Ball State has posted 20-or-more regular season wins 17 times, which is second in the MAC to Western Michigan (19).
►MAC TOURNAMENT BOUND: With a 10-4 league record, the Cardinals have secured a trip to the 2013 Mid-American Conference Tournament at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva Ohio (Nov. 22-24) ... Ball State enters the final weekend of league play having secured one of the top six seeds in the eight-team tournament ... The Cardinals are currently seeded third, but depending on results this weekend, could finish anywhere in the top six ... To earn the No. 1 overall seed, Ball State would have to win both matches this weekend, while both Ohio (12-2 MAC) and Toledo (11-3 MAC) would have to lose twice.
►SCOUTING THE CARDINALS: Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Alex Fuelling paces the squad and ranks fourth in the MAC with a 3.78 kills-per-set average, while redshirt sophomore middle Hayley Benson ranks first in the conference with a .358 attack percentage ... Senior setter Jacqui Seidel and sophomore setter Jenna Spadafora have combined to set the Ball State offense to a .240 attacking mark which ranks second in the league ... In the backcourt, senior libero Catie Fredrich has tallied double-digit digs in 27 of BSU’s 29 matches this season for an average of 4.77 digs per set, which ranks fifth in the league ... As a team, the Ball State defense has held opponents to a combined .155 hitting mark which ranks first in the MAC.
►BALL STATE VERSUS NORTHERN ILLINOIS: Ball State snapped a four-match losing streak to the Huskies by posting a 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-20) victory in the first meeting this season, Oct. 12 at Worthen Arena ... Overall, NIU holds a slim 29-28 advantage in the all-time series, including a 17-8 mark in matches played in DeKalb ... Ball State’s last win at Victor E. Court came in head coach Steve Shondell’s first season, with the Cardinals posting a hard-fought 3-2 (25-20, 18-25, 17-25, 25-23, 16-14) triumph Sept. 24, 2010.
►SCOUTING NORTHERN ILLINOIS: The Huskies enter Friday’s match with a 17-11 overall record and tied for third in the MAC West Division with a 9-5 league mark ... Last week, NIU secured road wins at Central Michigan (3-0) and Eastern Michigan (3-1) ... Mackenzie Roddy leads the Huskies and ranks fifth in the MAC with a 3.42 kills-per-set average, while Sarah Angelos is second on the squad at 2.87 ... Alexis Gonzalez has set the Northern Illinois offense to a .210 attack percentage which ranks the squad fourth in the MAC ... Justine Schepler paces the NIU backcourt and ranks 10th in the MAC with a 4.39 digs-per-set average ... As a team, the Huskies defense is limiting opponents to a .188 attack percentage which ranks fifth in the MAC.
►BALL STATE VERSUS WESTERN MICHIGAN: Ball State snapped a three-match losing streak to the Broncos with a thrilling 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-14) victory Oct. 11 at Worthen Arena in the first meeting between the teams this season ... Overall, Western Michigan holds a 41-39 lead in the all-time series, including a 23-13 edge in Kalamazoo, Mich. ... Ball State’s last road win in the series was Oct. 28, 2006 by a score of 3-2 (30-18, 30-27, 18-30, 24-30, 15-12) ... WMU has won six straight on its home court, and nine of the last 10.
►SCOUTING WESTERN MICHIGAN: The Broncos enter the week with a 16-11 overall record and tied for third in the MAC West Division with a 9-5 league mark ... WMU will host MAC West leading Toledo Friday, before battling Ball State in the final regular season match Saturday ... Last weekend, WMU scored road wins at Eastern Michigan (3-1) and Central Michigan (3-2) ... Stephenee Yancy leads the WMU attack with a 3.39 kills-per-set average, but has not played in the last four matches ... Rachel Sheffer leads WMU’s active players with a 2.50 kills-per-set average, while Alysia Baznik and Claire Gerwig are right behind at 2.46 and 2.41, respectively ... Lexie Pawlik has set the Broncos offense to a .237 rate of success, which ranks WMU third in the MAC ... Lena Oliver paces the Western Michigan backcourt and is fourth in the league with a 4.93 digs-per-set average ... As a team, the WMU defense is limiting opponents to a .203 attack percentage which ranks eighth in the MAC.
►FUELLING BACK UP: After missing two weeks due to injury, Alex Fuelling returned to the Ball State lineup last weekend and promptly paced the offense with a 4.00 kills-per-set average, while ranking second in the backcourt with a 3.22 digs-per-set average ... Fuelling, who posted kill/dig double-doubles in both of Ball State’s matches last week, also recorded a perfect reception percentage by successfully passing all 41 serves she faced.
►THE 20 KILL CLUB: With 21 kills in last Thursday’s match versus Toledo, Alex Fuelling became just the second player in program history to smash 20-or-more kills in a match at least three times in the 25-point rally scoring era (2008-present) ... Fuelling blasted a career-high 24 kills in Ball State’s win over IPFW (Sept. 4), while depositing 20 in the team’s four-set win at Iowa (Sept. 13) ... 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).
►THE BALL STATE ATTACK: The Ball State offense enters the week ranked eighth in the nation with its 14.65 kills-per-set average ... Ball State’s 1,538 total kills, over 105 sets, are tops among all 328 NCAA Division I programs in the statistical rankings … Texas State and West Virginia are tied for second with 1,534 kills on the year ... The Cardinals also rank eighth nationally with a 13.76 assists-per-set average, while its .240 attack percentage is 63rd.
►CARDINALS GO FOR 80 AGAINST TOLEDO: Ball State’s attackers combined for 80 total kills against Toledo last Thursday, marking the team’s best offensive showing since blasting a BSU rally scoring era record 95 kills versus Northern Illinois Nov. 19, 2004 ... The only other time the Ball State offense has combined for 80 total kills in a match during the rally scoring era was Oct. 1, 2004 versus Western Michigan.
►A PAIR OF HELPING HANDS: Senior setter Jacqui Seidel played a large roll in the 80-kill performance versus Toledo last Thursday, dishing out a career-best 64 assists ... The 64 assists tie as the second-most for a BSU setter in the rally scoring era, trailing only Angie Parrell’s total of 69 at Akron Nov. 4, 2005.
►MORE ON SEIDEL: Jacqui Seidel enters the week ranked ninth in program history with 2,491 career assists ... Ball State’s active leader with 29 career assist/dig double-doubles, Seidel is also eighth in program history with a 7.71 career assists-per-set average.
►DISHING THE ROCK AT A RECORD PACE: Jacqui Seidel turned 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.
►SENIOR SLUGGER: Senior outside hitter Kylee Baker enters the week ranked 17th in program history with 824 career kills, and is ninth in BSU’s record book with 2,718 career attack attempts ... On defense, Baker’s 985 career digs rank her 15th on Ball State’s career list and leave her 15 digs shy of becoming just the 15th player in program history to record 1,000 career digs.
►HITTING HER MARX: Over the past 23 matches, senior middle Mindy Marx has been one of Ball State’s top offensive players, leading the squad in attack percentage (.364) and ranking second in kills-per-set average (2.72) ... She has blasted double-digit kills in 11 of the last 18 matches, including a career-high 18 versus Toledo (Nov. 7) ... Marx, who had never connected for double-digit kills in back-to-back matches in her career prior to this season, has logged a team-best 77 total blocks over the span.
►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 tied as the fourth-best effort, giving Marx two of the top five hitting marks in the league this season.
►GOING FOR 2,000: With her 45 digs last week, Catie Fredrich upped her career total to 1,887 which is third in program history ... Fredrich could become just the third player in program history to reach 2,000 career digs with 113 more this season ... Fredrich, who has collected double-digit digs in 27 matches this season, is also second in program history in career matches with double-digit digs (98), fourth in career digs-per-set average (4.22) and fourth in career matches with 20-or-more digs (32).
►AMONG THE NATION’S LEADERS: According to the NCAA statistical archives, Catie Fredrich’s 1,887 career digs rank 20th among all active NCAA Division I players ... Western Michigan’s Lena Oliver is the NCAA’s active career leader with 2,456 career digs, while Bowling Green’s Ashley Dunn is 15th (1,946) and Buffalo’s Kelly Svoboda is 19th (1,889).
►BENSON TAKES OVER THE LEAGUE LEAD: Thanks in part to a career-high 17 kills and .333 (17-5-36) attacking effort versus Toledo (Nov. 7), Hayley Benson has taken over the league lead with a .358 (251-57-542) attack percentage this season ... Benson has hit above .350 in 14 of Ball State’s 29 matches this season, including a career-best mark of .667 (10-0-15) in the season-opening win over Austin Peay (Aug. 30).
►BENSON WITH THE BLOCK: Hayley Benson turned in a record-setting performance 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.
►THREE FOR 20-OR-MORE: In the Oct. 19 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).
►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.