Andrew Mishler

A typical trip to Hawaii usually includes activities like snorkeling or hula dancing. While the men's volleyball team will take part in a few fun activities during its trip to Oahu, coach Joel Walton said his team's main focus will be strictly business.

No. 14 Ball State will take on No. 6 Hawaii in its first match of the 17th Annual Outrigger Invitational in Honolulu tonight.

The tournament will continue into Friday when Ball State faces UCLA and conclude on Saturday with a match against Penn State.

The Cardinals departed for Hawaii on Tuesday morning at 2 a.m. Walton said that by taking such a long trip, the Cardinals enter the tournament already at a disadvantage.

"It's a tough trip with the distance and the jet lag, and the excitement of being in Hawaii," Walton said. "All of that plays on your level of energy."

While the most obvious issue for Ball State might be sleep deprivation, Walton also discussed that hydration would be another issue for every team except for the host, Hawaii.

"We've got to watch their hydration, because they're going to be in a climate not like Muncie where they're going to sweat quite a bit," Walton said. "That's a huge advantage for Hawaii. You'll start to see teams wear down while they stay fresh."

The length of the trip has taken a toll on previous teams at Ball State, as the Cardinals have only won two of 11 games in the Outrigger Invitational. In addition, Ball State has a combined 29-89 record against its tournament foes, who all rank above Ball State in the top 10.

Walton said while history may be against his team, he said he still believes it can comes away with multiple wins in the tournament.

"My expectations are very high," Walton said. "I think we've got a team that has enough experience and is strong enough competitively that we can play with each program.

"It's more a matter our guys being able to relax and play up to their ability and not be overwhelmed by the competition or jet lag."