Last night, the Ball State Cardinals won their semi-final match against Central Michigan, securing a spot in the 2022 MAC Championship. Winning three of the four sets and taking the match, the Cardinals will take on the No. 2 seeded Bowling Green Falcons this afternoon
Here’s how the Cardinals topped the Chippewas.
Set 1: 23-25
To begin the match, Central Michigan took an early lead, the score swiftly reaching 4-8. From here, the Cardinals would respond with a 5-1 run, nearly tying up the score. The Chippewas and Cardinals would continue to take turns scoring until Central Michigan began to hold a divisive lead. With a score of 15-19, with Ball State still behind, the Cardinals would battle back with a 3-0 run. Continuing to chip away at the gap, Ball State would eventually tie the Chippewas at 22 points apiece. Nearing the end of the opening set, CMU would book three kills, reaching 25 points with a 25-23 score.
Set 2: 25-18
In this second set, the Cardinals would utilize an early lead over the Chippewas with a 9-5 score and seven BSU kills in the books. Ball State would capitalize on this momentum, holding and expanding upon the lead, the score reaching 16-9. Central Michigan would continue to score but remained behind the Cardinals for the rest of the set. With a 21-13 score, CMU would put together a brief 3-0 run, attempting to close the gap. Despite efforts by Central Michigan to take the lead, Ball State would push forward, taking the second set 25-18. Ball State, using their powerful offense to their advantage, would outmatch the Chippewas in this set with nineteen kills versus the fourteen from CMU.
Set 3: 25-23
With this match all tied up at one set apiece, the Chippewas saw this opportunity and would jump into another early lead. CMU taking multiple 3-0 runs, held a small lead over the Cardinals, 4-7. Ball State would respond quickly, tying up the score and keeping leads to a minimum with a 10-10 score. From here, both teams would take turns scoring and trading off the lead. With a tied-up score of 14-14, CMU would put together a 4-0 run, now leading 14-18. Moments later, the Cardinals would take an explosive six-point run, earning the lead and inching closer to the end. With a score of 22-19, Central Michigan would begin to make up some ground. At Ball State’s match point, CMU would still be three points shy of the lead. From here, the Cardinals would score and take the third set, 25-23.
The fourth and final set beginning like the previous ones, started with points being traded back and forth. About seven points in, each team would log a 4-0 run, once again tying up the score. From here, the Cardinals would hold the lead until the score reached 19-19. With three kills by Ball State, the Red and Black would hold the lead by three points, 23-20. Quickly nearing the end of this final set, the Chippewas would use a brief two-point run to close the gap. Soon after, the Cardinals would follow up with a 2-0 run of their own, taking the set 25-22. With this final stretch, Ball State would take the match (3-1) and earn their spot in the MAC Championship. The Cardinals, logging 63 kills, led by Cait Snyder (21), and 61 assists, led by Megan Wielonski (54), have proved that they are a force to be reckoned with this season.
Next in action, the Cardinals will face No. 2 seed Bowling Green in the MAC Championship Tuesday. Bowling Green is coming off their semifinal sweep of Buffalo and a first serve at 4:30.