Andrew Mishler

Consider this weekend a chance for Ball State to make up for lost opportunity.

The Cardinals can potentially vault themselves back into the top-15 teams in the nation.

They can end their six-game home stand with momentum and a better sense of confidence.

And they can reassert themselves against two teams in George Mason and Sacred Heart they struggled against earlier in the season.

It's the Cardinals' second meeting against both teams this season. Ball State lost to George Mason 4-1 on Jan. 28 and narrowly managed to defeat Sacred Heart 3-2 the next day.

"I felt like that was a weekend where we were fortunate to come out with one victory," coach Joel Walton said. "What we would like to see this weekend at home is two wins against two teams who are playing very well this year."

One George Mason outside attacker, Max McFarland, had a career night against Ball State earlier in the year, racking up 26 kills in the match. Eric Lucas and Mark Jones were no slouches either, scoring 16 and 14 kills, respectively.

Containing the Patriots' trio of talented attackers will once again be the Cardinals' top priority for the match.

"George Mason really hurt us with their left side attackers," Walton said. "We did a good job against Jones, but McFarland could do no wrong in that match. Blocking was our biggest problem, so getting our blocking in the correct place against him will be key."

Entering almost every match this season, starting lineup changes from the previous week have been nearly constant. That shouldn't change against George Mason and Sacred Heart.

Walton said while the typical group of starters at libero and middle attacker will stay in for the match, Dan Whichmann will continue to start at setter, while Lee Meyer will step into the starting lineup alongside Dominic Spadavecchio at outside attacker.

Whichman said he brings a number of different skills to the table when he's on the court.

"I know I try to bring consistency, energy, and overall smart play," he said.

Ball State faces George Mason today at 6 p.m. and Sacred Heart on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.