Daniel Sipocz

The season will be on the line today when Ball State steps on the floor at 4:30 p.m. in Toledo, Ohio.

It will be the third of four quarterfinal matches of the day and will mark the third meeting between Ball State and Toledo in 2010. Ball State has won the first two matches, including a five-set victory at Toledo on Oct. 7.

Playing in Toledo's backyard may be a troublesome task for the Cardinals, but junior middle blocker Kelsey Brandl is not concerned.

"The crowd will be controlled," Brandl said. "All the Ball State fans will be there. We get energized from the crowd, even if it's hostile."

Coach Steve Shondell said the crowd could have an effect on his team. For that reason, he has emphasized mental toughness to the team.

Mental toughness can also play an important role when things are not going right. Ball State has demonstrated fortitude throughout the season, coming from behind and playing in eight five-set matches while winning seven of them. Shondell said that doesn't mean much anymore, however.

"We're all 0-0," he said. "We've got to give Toledo respect. Teams tend to play better at home, and we're going into their hometown. They're going to be ready to play, so we're going to need to be mentally tough and play well in the first set."

Fast starts have not been something Ball State has gotten off to in recent weeks. Instead, the recipe for success has been mid-set runs to break open a comfortable margin.

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