The Eastern Michigan University volleyball team hosted the Ball State University Cardinals in a Saturday evening Mid-American Conference matchup that resulted in a 3-1 victory at the Convocation Center.
Despite falling in its first set to the Cardinals (9-11, 3-3 MAC), the Eagles (11-8, 3-3 MAC) were able to overcome the set back and win three consecutive sets to capture the victory. Eastern Michigan has now won three of its last four MAC matches.
The Eagles started the first set with a 3-0 advantage, but it was Ball State that had a majority of the lead, going up by five points in the middle of the set. Thanks to efforts by Katie Krasowski. Casey Haut and Jordan Smith, the Eagles were able to stay in the set, evening the match at 21.
The Cardinals had the chance to end the first set, but a kill by Krasowski kept the Eagles in it for the moment. Two serves later, the Cardinals took the first set by a score of 28-26, going up 1-0 in the process.
Junior Devon Murray was taken out of the game after eight points were played with an apparent ankle injury, which seemed to have an effect on the attacking strategy of the Eagles.
Eastern Michigan started the second set out strong, taking the advantage early, but the Cardinals quickly took an advantage of its own, almost tying the match up at eight-a-piece. The Eagles then went on an impressive run of its own to take control of the set, eventually winning 25-19 to tie the match at one.
Eastern won the third set by a score of 26-24, in what was a close, back and forth set that saw neither team gain a clear advantage. Eastern Michigan gook a time out after the Cardinals took a 24-23 lead to try and stop Cardinals momentum. The Eagles then took the last two points of the set, winning it off of a Mallory Rejewski ace.
The Eagles dominated the fourth set, winning 25-17, effectively defeating the Cardinals and hitting the .500 mark in the MAC after a slow start to the conference schedule.
“We played pretty good volleyball but not quite good enough [in the first set],” Eastern coach Kimi Olson said. “We were ready to come back out like we were hungry and really ready to get game two and I think the team really were into that.”
In regards to freshman stepping it up this season, Olson had good words to say about the play of both Rajewski and Smith.
“Jordan Smith is a great player, she came in here ready to start and ready to get it done,” she said. “But she has the ability to run a much faster ball, and is able to get a split and block.
“Mallory is just providing us with a little more consistency in a one-setter system,” Olson said. “She is doing a great job running the offense and controlling the ball, and we’re having success with it.”
Smith finished the game with 17 kills, while substitutes Kraowski and Cassie Haut did a good job of filling in for Murray, with 15 and 13 kills respectively. Rajewksi finished the match with a career high 51 assists.
Easterns’ volleyball team will travel to Miami University on Oct. 16 to try and continue its winning streak and the push towards the postseason.