MEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Pfeiffer happy for opportunity to play Ball State
Falcons coach says playing Cardinals is important for the growth of the program
The slumped body language and the one-sided score won't show it, but Pfeiffer was pleased with the opportunity to compete with Ball State.
"We don't play a lot of teams that big or experienced," Pfeiffer coach Ben Guiliano said. "We're certainly not used to playing in an arena. That's one big thing—our gym is a basic high school gym that seats 1,500 people with wooden bleachers."
Disappointment set aside from the 3-0 loss to Ball State Guiliano said opportunities to play teams like the Cardinals is important to men's volleyball.
Ball State coach Joel Walton agreed with Guiliano.
Pfeiffer is a member of the Conference Carolinas—a conference that will be able to qualify for an NCAA Tournament automatic bid next year. Walton feels giving teams like Pfeiffer the chance to compete is critical to growing men's volleyball and expanding the NCAA Tournament.
"We've fostered other programs and given them the chance to play against our team," Walton said. "It's only a matter time before the Conference Carolina teams become very competitive because there is a wealth of talent out there. There aren't enough places for good men's volleyball players to go and compete."
The addition of an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament could force a major shakeup in men's volleyball and force an expansion. Those ramifications were not necessarily in mind to make this match happen however.
The Pfeiffer and Ball State matchup, the first ever meeting, came together easily. Guilano said he had noticed Ball State playing King College, another Conference Carolina member, and asked Walton if there would be interest in scheduling a match.
With a deal struck, Pfeiffer came to Muncie to gain experience against Ball State, but they will also play a neutral site match against Mt. St. Joseph.
"Joel gets it," Guiliano said. "He understands his responsibility to the men's game and takes it pretty serious. Otherwise he wouldn't be hosting dual, neutral site matches. He knows this is going to help Limestone, Mt. St. Josephs, and Pfeiffer get better.
"He cares immensely about Ball State volleyball, but I'm sure he cares a lot about men's volleyball in general. We're lucky to have someone like that here because we get to have this experience."
Ball State not only benefited from the match with a win. The Cardinals also benefitted in getting bench players on the floor. Even without much time on the court, the bench held its own and continued the domination to the conclusion of the match.
With the win in hand, Walton was pleased with his team's performance. He was even more pleased with the experience Ball State was able to give Pfeiffer.
"This may have been an eye-opener for them tonight, but I guarantee they will go back to the gym and work harder because of the competition level they've seen," Walton said. "They'll do much better the next time they see us."