Mount Pleasant, Mich. - Central Michigan was unable to find its groove offensively Saturday night, falling to Mid-American Conference west division foe Ball State in straight sets, 25-14, 25-22, 25-19.
The loss evened the Chippewas' record at 7-7 overall and 1-1 in MAC play. Ball State improved to 14-3 and 2-0 following the first weekend of conference competition.
While CMU struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the first set, the Cardinals were clicking on all cylinders, finishing with a .538 hitting percentage en route to a 25-14 victory.
Despite the struggles in set one, the Chippewas were able to regroup defensively in the second set, limiting the Cardinals to just .074 in an attempt to even the match.
The second set saw the two teams tied 12 different times, including as late as 18-18 following a kill by junior Hallie Enderle, but the Cardinals scored three-straight points to take a 21-18 lead and force a CMU timeout. A double block by junior Kaitlyn McIntyre and sophomore Angelique White pulled the Chippewas back within one, 21-20, but it was as close as they would get as the Cardinals went on to take a 2-0 lead into the break behind a 25-22 set two victory.
The Chippewas fell behind quickly in set three following the break, 12-5, forcing a pair of timeouts from head coach Erik Olson. A kill by McIntyre following a long rally sparked the Chippewas and started a mini run and freshman Melissa Fuchs recorded three kills to help CMU pull as close as four, 23-19, but a kill by BSU's Mindy Marx and an error on the Chippewas closed the match, 25-19.
CMU begins a three-game MAC road trip next weekend with trips to Western Michigan and Northern Illinois.