Eagles out of tourney courtesy of Cardinals

The Eastern Michigan University volleyball team lost in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament to the Cardinals of Ball State 3-1(25-22, 25-23, 25-8 and 27-25) Friday at Geneva, Ohio.

The Eagles ended 21-11 and 9-8 in the MAC. They came into the tournament after having swept their regular-season series with the Cardinals, but the Cardinals didn’t let it affect them.

Ball State jumped out to an early lead in the beginning of the first set, but the Eagles were able to fight back and tie it up at four. The set went back and forth until Ball State was able to lead 14-11. EMU was able to come back once again with a four-point run to take a 15-14 lead. It went back and forth again until it was tied up at 22; Eastern took the next three points to win the set.

The Eagles had a good effort in this set from Kristen Baker, Rachel Iaquaniello, Paige Roback and Erin Short, who each chipped in four kills. Ashley Mason had 16 sets in this frame alone. Haley Stein led the defense with six digs. The Eagles had a decent offensive set also with a .366 hitting percentage.

After falling behind in the beginning of the second set, EMU came back with four points to take a lead over the Cardinals. The set went back and forth until Ball State was able to take a lead at 23-21. Roback made it 23-22 with a kill, but the Cardinals were able to pull off the 25-23 set victory.

Eastern struggled offensively in the second set hitting .184 while Ball State had a .283 hitting percentage. Iaquaniello and Short each had four kills in the set, while Baker added three more. Mason chipped in 13 more assists, while Stein was able to add 10 digs in the set.

Ball State started the third set with a pair of aces and had an early 5-0 lead. The Eagles tried to get things going but weren’t successful. The Cardinals went on a run, expanding the lead to 22-6. The match went back and forth until BSU took the set. Eastern struggled offensively, hitting -.107 while Ball State had a .353 attack percentage. Baker led the offense with a pair of kills.

Down again at the beginning of set four, the Eagles fought back and evened it at nine; the Eagles scored three points giving them a 12-9 lead. The set was tied up at 15, and after back-and-forth points the Cardinals took a 20-19 lead. Back and forth errors set up the victory for the Cardinals.

The Eagles were well represented in the conference with four players receiving honors. Senior libero Stein was named All-MAC First Team as well as the MAC’s Defensive Player of the Year. Senior Mason and junior Iaquaniello were selected for the All-MAC First Team also, while Megan Crawshaw was named to the All-MAC Freshman Team.

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