MEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Ball State prepares for Quincy in MIVA quarterfinals
Cardinals host Hawks in first round of tournament
The postseason couldn't have come at a better time for the Ball State men's volleyball team.
With three wins against top competition in its past four matches, Ball State is playing at its highest level of the season as it heads into its first match of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association tournament against Quincy.
"I think we're hitting our peak right now," outside attacker Jamion Hartley said. "Hopefully it just keeps going up. We're finding out little things about each other as a team. That's what's making us play so well right now."
Ball State won the third seed in the tournament two weeks ago after it beat IPFW, securing the advantage in a tiebreaker over Lewis.
While a match against sixth-seeded Quincy might look appealing on paper, the Hawks haven't played like a lowly seed recently.
In two matches last weekend against Loyola, which has the second seed in the conference tournament, Quincy snagged away a close victory on Friday before losing the second match Saturday.
In two chances this season, Ball State has fallen to Loyola.
Nevertheless, Quincy's upset victory could be an asset toward the Cardinals' preparation.
"For our team's mental preparation this week, that was a good thing," coach Joel Walton said. "Our guys are going to come into the match being more respectful of what Quincy is able to do."
In an effort to find chemistry and consistency on the court, the Ball State lineup has gone through changes in recent weeks.
Jamion Hartley was named a starter against Loyola on April 8, while Marcus Imwalle became the starting libero earlier this month.
Since then, Hartley's confidence has blossomed to the point where he is setting high aspirations for Ball State in the MIVA tournament.
Hartley said having a home match to start the tournament should be one of the Cardinals' biggest advantages in overcoming Quincy.
"I think it's a very important thing to have at least one match [at home]," he said. "It's important just to start off and kinda guarantee a win and then go to Loyola and face them at their place."