MEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Margin of error closing on Ball State
Cardinals will have to win out to assure No. 3 seeding in conference tournament
Ball State can throw ‘room for error' out the window.
With Lewis upsetting Ohio State last week in a battle between Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association rivals, Ball State's (16-9, 6-4 MIVA) chances at securing the No. 3 seed in the MIVA Tournament have only become smaller.
The Cardinals' first shot at assuring their spot in the conference postseason will come this weekend with matches against MIVA rivals Loyola and IPFW.
The match against Loyola will come on the road Friday at 7:00 p.m. Afterwards, Ball State will come home to play IPFW Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
While Ball State still controls its tournament destiny with four matches left in the regular season and the tiebreaker against Lewis, the Flyers are still breathing down the Cardinals' necks.
Junior Dominic Spadavecchio said the team is trying to keep the next two weeks as simple as possible.
"We're trying to beat every opponent that we can," he said. "If we beat Loyola, then we just get to go back there and play again, which gives us that much more confidence going in knowing that we already won."
With the No. 2 seed, Loyola would earn a first-round bye in the tournament. With the No. 3 seed and quarterfinals victory over likely opponent Quincy, Ball State would move into a match identical to Friday's: on the road against Loyola.
But defeating Loyola twice on the road, much less earning a second match with the Flyers, is easier said than done. Ball State has proved that in the past, losing the past 15 matches to Loyola at Alumni Gym.
"The last couple of times that we have played there, we have had match points multiple times," Spadavecchio said. "It's not like they're unbeatable in their gym, but it usually takes a little bit extra and a little bit more of what you've got in you to pull out the victory."
Ball State is coming off a pair of wins against Grand Canyon, one which went into the fifth game.
While it could be concerning that the Cardinals struggled to finish off an inferior team, Spadavecchio said the team knew it had to practice better and play better weeks ago.
"The King College and Lees McRae weekend kind of woke us up," he said. "We really needed to wake up, take a reality check and hit practice harder. A good part about our team in those long battles, since we do have such depth on our team, if someone's not playing as well, we can still bring people off the bench and still get the job done."