Andrew Mishler

It wasn't supposed to be a match Ball State could win, but the Cardinals did everything they could to prove that notion wrong on Friday against Loyola. 

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the final score didn't end in their favor. 

Ball State lost to No. 12 Loyola 3-2 (1-25, 25-20, 26-24, 26-28, 16-14) on the road. Outside attacker Jamion Hartley broke out in the match to lead the team with a season-high 17 kills. 

The loss puts Ball State at 16-10 on the season and 6-5 in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Loyola improved to 18-6 overall and 8-2 in the conference. 

A 9-5 Ball State lead in the final frame wasn't enough to hold off Loyola, which bounced back to tie the score at 13 before taking the game 16-14.

"They kept chipping away at it," coach Joel Walton said. "We fought a little bit, but we couldn't win a couple of points when we needed to."

The Cardinals finished with a .315 attack percentage compared to Loyola's success rate of .259.

Larry Wrather continued his recent high level of play with 15 kills and a .312 attack percentage. Anders Nelson had a solid match as well with 10 kills and a team-leading .368 attack percentage.

But it was Hartley's performance that, for the most part, impressed Walton the most.

"I was happy with Jamion's performance," he said. "He missed three float serves, which is unacceptable. But I thought he attacked the ball well in key moments. He blocked well at times as well."

Fortunately for Ball State, IPFW defeated Lewis 3-1 Friday night. The Mastadon's victory keeps the Flyers one game behind the Cardinals in the MIVA standings, despite Ball State's loss.

Ball State will travel home to play IPFW today at 7:30 p.m. in an attempt to earn a conference win this weekend.