CHARLESTON, SC September 21, 2013 – In the most closely-contested match of the weekend, Ball State won a 3-1 (25-22, 16-25, 25-20, 25-23) nail-biter over College of Charleston to win the CofC Holiday Inn Classic title.
College of Charleston (10-4) and Ball State (12-3) hit for a nearly identical attack percentage and tallied nearly the same number of kills in a match that featured 21 ties and 10 lead changes. Both teams also managed an identical side-out percentage of 53 percent.
However, Ball State was able to build leads early in the third and fourth sets and Charleston needed all of its runs to just pull even, but could never go ahead.
BSU’s Mindy Marx finished with 11 kills and six blocks to win the Tournament MVP trophy, while Catie Fredrich (20 digs) and Hayley Benson (2 solo blocks) won All-Tournament honors.
CofC’s Sloane White finished with 11 kills and a .308 hitting percentage to earn All-Tournament honors. She finished the weekend with a team-high 36 kills and a team-best .363 attacking percentage. Libero Andi Zbojniewicz also made the All-Tournament team, tallying 12 digs against BSU and finishing the weekend with 39.
Senior Darcy Dorton played with fire against the team from her hometown of Muncie, Ind. Dorton terminated a match-high 16 kills and had nine digs and two blocks.
Melissa Morello had eight kills and Cara Howley finished with seven. The Cougar middle blockers defended strong once again as Kerstin Koehler made six blocks with six kills, while Emily Neideffer had five blocks and 10 kills. Kallie McKown posted another double-double with 27 assists and 14 digs.
CofC used a 6-0 run in the first set to build a 14-11 lead after consecutive kills from White. But the Cardinals came right back with their own run to go up 17-15. The teams knotted it up and traded points through to the end where an error from Dorton and block from BSU’s Jacqui Seidel helped give the Cardinals a 25-22 set one victory.
Charleston came out with a fiery attitude in the second set, fueled by a 9-0 run that put the Cougars up 12-6. CofC maintained strong side-out composure through the rest of the set and cruised to a 25-16 win in the only quiet set of the match.
Ball State built yet another lead early in the third set and forced the Cougars to play catch up. Trailing 12-6, the Cougars scratched and clawed all the way back to a tie at 17, but Ball State won the next three points to regain control. Consecutive CofC attack errors down the stretch put the set away and Ball State won 25-20.
The fourth and final set had fans buzzing from both allegiances for quite some time after the match ended. Ball State jumped on CofC early, but the Cougars steadily fought back yet again. Charleston got within one or two points several times before the Cardinals would run again, but it was a block from Howley and Neideffer followed by a kill from Morello that tied it at 18 and put the crowd on its feet. BSU responded with a four-point run to seemingly put away the set at 22-18. However, Charleston used a BSU service error and solo block from Koehler to pull within two and force timeout. Lauren Grant landed a kill from a 23-20 BSU lead, but Dorton fought even harder slamming a kill down from the middle of the net and then stuffing a Grant attack to make it 23-22. Hayley Benson gave BSU set point and Dorton had another kill to keep CofC alive for one last point before the Cardinals ended it with a kill from Alex Fuelling, 25-23.
Along with the players from Ball State and CofC, SMU’s Caroline Young and Avery Acker, UNCA’s Anna Moore and AAMU’s Maria Ramos also made the All-Tournament team.
CofC ends the non-conference schedule with two tournament titles and a 10-4 record, including wins over Georgia Tech and Indiana.
The College now goes on the road for the first three weeks of CAA play to test its mettle against new conference competition. Next weekend, CofC will play at Northeastern on Friday night followed by a Sunday afternoon match at Hofstra.