EAST LANSING, Mich. – Junior Kristin Boyd (Wilmington, N.C.) smashed 18 kills to lead Virginia Commonwealth University, but Ball State walked away with a 3-1 (25-21, 27-25, 25-20, 25-18) win Saturday in the Spartan Invitational at Jenison Field House.
Freshman setter Cecilia Aragao (Recife, Brazil) ran a VCU attack that hit .282 in the match. She handled 44 assists, scored on all five of her attacks and had a role in three blocks. Junior Anett Farkas (Budapest, Hungary) and senior Jessica Ojukwu (Sao Paulo, Brazil) each contributed nine kills. Farkas added four blocks, including a pair of solos.
Kara Bates was a thorn in VCU's side all day, as the Ball State outside hitter smacked a match-high 19 kills on 39 attempts. Kelsey Brandl added 13 kills and hit .524.
The Cardinals (11-2) hit .318 in the match, including .520 and .424 in the first and second sets, respectively, as Ball State assumed a commanding 2-0 lead.
Playing in their second match of the day, VCU was sluggish early. However, midway through the second set, the Rams began to find their footing. VCU nearly rallied from a 24-21 deficit when Boyd led a 3-0 burst with a pair of overhand smashes. Senior Courtney Hott (Fredericksburg, Va.) extended the set with a timely kill that made it 25-25. But back-to-back kills by Ball State's Brittany McGinnis and Whitney Heeres put an end to the VCU threat.
VCU cruised in the third behind Boyd as the Cardinals hit just .118. The Rams looked primed for a repeat in the fourth when they charged to a 7-3 advantage on a kill by Aragao and a service ace from freshman Amanda Love (Southfield, Mich.). But three straight unforced VCU errors allowed BSU to rally for a 7-7 tie. The teams traded points until 12-12, when Ball State got three kills from Brandl over a five-play span to open a 17-12 lead that proved to be the difference.
The Rams return to action on Friday, Sept. 23 when they begin Colonial Athletic Association play at George Mason in Fairfax, Va. First serve is set for 7 p.m.