The Eastern Michigan University women’s volleyball team lost a tough straight set match (23-25, 22-25, 28-30) to the Ball State University Cardinals Nov. 9. The loss brings their record to 17-14 (7-8 Mid-American Conference).
With 18 kills, senior outside hitter Rachel Iaquaniello again led the way for the Eagles. She continues to lead the team and the MAC in kills with 511 on the year, and is also ranked 26th in the country in kills per set with 4.29. She was also named to the Capitol One All-District Second Team Nov. 8.
The story of the first set was missed opportunities. The Cardinals took advantage of EMU errors, scoring ten of their points from Eagle misplays. The Eagles, despite their errors, went back and forth for most of the set, tying it eight different times.
Late in the set, the Eagles were two points from victory when they gave it all away. Behind 23-21, Ball State rallied behind two kills from Jenna Spadafora to tie the score at 23. Freshman setter Alyssa Davis and junior outside hitter Paige Roback each committed vital errors, ultimately leading to Ball State’s 25-23 triumph over the Eagles.
Iaquaniello had five kills and an ace for the Eagles in the first set, and senior middle blocker Kristen Baker followed right behind her with four kills of her own. Sophomore middle blocker Megan Crawshaw added two kills while Roback and junior outside hitter Erin Short each brought one kill to the party.
The second set started exactly how the first had ended. Crawshaw committed a service error, giving Ball State the first point of the set. Crawshaw’s error was the first of nine committed by the Eagles. While the score was tied at 14 different points, the lead only changed four times.
After taking a 20-19 lead on a service ace from Kara Bates, the Cardinals put the set away on three kills from Mindy Marx and two more Eagle errors. The first, an attack error by Roback and the second, an attack error from Short which proved to be the deciding point in the set. The Eagles lost 25-22.
Roback, despite her two attack errors, also drove the offensive attack for the Eagles in the second set with five kills. Iaquaniello and Short each added three, Crawshaw had two and Baker added one of her own.
“We discussed, at halftime, that we weren’t winning long rallies and making the plays that we normally make, so we were going to communicate sooner and more often, trust our system and focus on our serving zones,” Iaquaniello said after the game. “Because we were pretty inconsistent serving.”
The third set was quite possibly the closest one all season for the Eagles. Despite nine errors, the Eagles were able to come back from 24-20, 27-26 and 28-27 to tie the set three times. Unfortunately, a bad set by Iaquaniello and a Kara Bates kill put the Eagles away for good. They lost the set 30-28.
Iaquaniello had eight kills in the final set while Short added three of her own.
Iaquaniello was also very clear about the team’s performance.
“[Nov. 9] was not our game at all,” Iaquaniello said. “Against Toledo we are going to come out with an entirely renewed focus, intensity and we’re going to play ball the way we know we can.”