Daniel Sipocz

First-year women's volleyball coach Steve Shondell faces a difficult question after a rough loss on the road over the weekend: How does a team rebound from a poor performance and get back on track before facing another road test at IPFW?

"We have to be mentally ready for each match and come to practice ready to play hard," Shondell said. "We had the win streak and may have gotten a little too confident."

The Cardinals (7-1) made 27 total errors and struggled to put the ball away at Wright State, resembling the maniac style of play that cost last year's squad at least three matches on the road. Putting an end to such inconsistent and frustrating efforts will be the focus of Shondell and his coaching staff preparing for IPFW (5-5).

"IPFW is a very good team. They were a NCAA Tournament team last year and return a lot of people," Shondell said. "We are going to learn from Saturday. We have to have a good practice Monday morning to be ready to go to IPFW Tuesday."

For senior libero Alyssa Rio, Saturday was an unwelcomed flash-back to her previous three seasons in a Cardinals uniform. Rio was not pleased with the way Ball State played, refused to make excuses, and demanded that her teammates not allow another game like Saturday's loss to happen again.

"I think we know what we did wrong. This is something we should learn from but not dwell on," Rio said. "We've had good matches, we know what to do to do well. We just have to have the confidence to rebound."

Freshman outside hitter Whitney Heeres tasted defeat for the first time in her collegiate career and didn't like the feeling. The loss serves as motivation for her.

"I know when I lose it makes me want to come out and play even harder," Heeres said. "Rio talked to us and told us what we should have done. We need to come together as a team and play hard."

IPFW, a Summit League school, is 1-1 against Mid-American Conference opponents this season. They were swept 3-0 by Western Michigan on Aug. 31 and beat Bowling Green 3-0 on the road Sunday. The Mastodons are led offensively by Maya Schlindwein, who has 125 kills on the season and averages 3.47 kills per set.