MEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Ball State loss signals growth in MIVA
Cardinals upset loss to Hawks shows teams getting better in conference
The Quincy men's volleyball team accomplished much more than ending Ball State's 2011 season Saturday night in Worthen Arena.
The Hawks earned their first victory ever in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association tournament, were the first sixth seed to ever win in the tournament and prevented the Cardinals from going to the MIVA semifinals for the first time since 1998.
In addition, the effects of Quincy's victory over Ball State may extend into the future of the competition in the conference.
"It's nice to have that monkey off our back, but in the grand scheme of things, it just means that the MIVA has six teams instead of five," Quincy coach Hadley Foster said. "The MIVA been a five-team conference for the last couple of years, and we're moving in with them."
For more than a decade, Quincy has sat at the bottom of the MIVA while Ball State, Ohio State, Lewis, Loyola and IPFW have competed to be the top team in the conference.
With the Hawks breaking through for their first win in the MIVA tournament, there could be another team Ball State will have to watch out for in the coming years.
"I don't know about parity, but we're at least a team that people have to prepare for," Foster said. "We've been a cupcake in the past and I'm aware of that."
With Ball State's quick exit from the MIVA tournament, Ball State will move into the offseason with a focus on rebuilding and reloading a roster that will lose five seniors.
While Ball State will lose talent from its seniors graduating, coach Joel Walton said after last week's win over St. Francis the team will miss the seniors' leadership as well.
"We've gone through a year with relatively little turmoil in spite of some ups and downs in our team's play," he said. "The guys have remained focused and remained together, and I know that's because of our senior leadership."