Andrew Mishler

Preparation is vital in any sport. It should serve the Ball State men's volleyball team greatly this weekend.

After being defeated by Penn State near the beginning of the season in the Outrigger Invitational, Ball State will finally have a rematch today on the road.

Following Friday's match, Ball State will take on Saint Francis on Saturday.

Outside attacker Marcus Imwalle said the Cardinals will be better prepared for the No. 9 Nittany Lions this time around.

"We know their players now a lot better than the beginning of the season where we didn't have much time to prepare for them," he said. "Now we have a lot of video on them and a lot more time to study them."

Penn State swept Ball State 3-0 on Jan. 15 in Honolulu Hawaii. Outside attack Joe Sunder led the Nittany Lions with 13 kills on 24 attempts.

Sunder ranks as one of the best outside attackers Ball State will have to play against all season. He ranks third in the nation in kills per set with 4.77 and ninth in hitting percentage at .378.

"With Sunder, whether you've got your defense focused on him or other guys, he's still a hard guy to slow down," coach Joel Walton said. "I would like to see our team this time around do a better job against Penn State's other attackers."

While Ball State has thrived in blocking for most of the season, its offense has been inconsistent. Imwalle said the team will have to show an improvement on offense in order to be successful.

"Consistent offense is the big thing," he said. "Especially when other teams put points on us, we need to make good passes. We can't just put the ball away."