Nathan Pace

The good news for the No. 15 Ball State University men's volleyball team is that it maintained its ranking in this week's coaches' poll and libero Billy Ebel won the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Defensive Player of the Week award for the fourth time this season.

The bad news is that Ball State must play a rare Tuesday match at Lewis University, the team Ball State replaced in the poll last week.

"It's not ideal," coach Joel Walton said. "We were both forced into playing on a Tuesday."

An open date for the conference match could not be found on a weekend for both teams, leaving the mid-week match as the only option. Ball State had to make a schedule change when Penn State University couldn't come to Muncie on the originally scheduled date.

The Cardinals played on Tuesday during Spring Break, but this will be their first such game during a school week.

The Flyers will be trying to sweep the season series as they defeated the Cardinals 3-2 on Feb. 26 in Muncie.

Walton knows that Ball State will have to beat Lewis if the team is to stay in the coaches' poll.

"Lewis is a good team that beat us," he said. "It will take a good performance in the three matches this week to stay in the poll."

Walton said that the mid-week match did not decrease the teams preparation.

"It will be similar to our normal preparation other than it's on a Tuesday." he said.

Lewis is third in the MIVA standings with Ball State fourth. Both teams have secured a first round home match in the MIVA tournament quarterfinals. Ohio State University has virtually locked up the second seed with an 8-1 MIVA record. Loyola University is currently the one seed with its perfect 10-0 MIVA record.

Walton doesn't want Loyola to win the No. 1 seed, as it will give Loyola home-court advantage in its small gym with a low ceiling.

"When you look at the scenarios for our league, I hope our championship isn't played in that small gym," Walton said.