An emotional start at the beginning of the match between the Ball State men's volleyball team ended in excitement as IPFW came from behind to win 3-2.

This was IPFW head coach and Ball State alumnus Arnie Ball's last game at Worthen Arena, as he is retiring at the season's end after 34 years.

The two I-69 rivals both held a 2-0 conference record and were ranked in the top 15 in the country coming into the match.

The first set started off competitively as expected. The Cardinals took a 22-18 lead, forcing the Mastodons to call their second timeout. 

Ball State held IPFW to a .133 attack percentage while the Cardinals' .333 attack percentage led them to a 25-21 victory.

The second set provided much of the same, with the teams tied 7-7 through 14 points. The Cardinals withstood 11 ties and ultimately won the set 25-22.

Senior outside attacker Matt Sutherland was replaced by redshirt sophomore Edgardo Cartagena in the third set, finishing the match with four kills, three digs and two blocks.

"Coach probably saw that someone else can go in and pick up the team," Sutherland said. "I wish I could've brought energy the whole game; today was weird, the other team played really well and they came back."

IPFW responded to the 2-0 deficit by winning set three 25-21. Ball State posted a .129 attack percentage.

After losing the third set, the momentum shifted.

"We weren't producing on offense after the first couple of games," head coach Joel Walton said. "Our offensive numbers died off, especially in game three, but we just weren't scoring points in other ways."

The Mastodons took control as set four progressed, forcing the Cardinals to take a timeout as they trailed 20-15. IPFW closed out its second consecutive set win with a 25-19 victory.

After starting a little slow in the final set, the Cardinals came out of a 9-6 timeout stronger than ever. After two straight kills, the Mastodons called a timeout. 

Ball State's comeback fell short, however, dropping the final set 15-11.

Junior outside attacker Marcin Niemczewski led the offense with 18 kills, a .394 attack percentage, eight digs and four blocks. Junior setter Hiago Garchet had 49 assists for the Cardinals.

Defensively, senior libero David Ryan Vander Meer finished the match with a team-high 14 digs. Freshman Matt Walsh recorded two solo blocks and 12 block assists.

Ball State's next matchup will be against George Mason on Feb. 7 at 7:3o p.m.

"George Mason is a good team, we've only got one match to look at because they've only played one other team in our conference," Walton said. "It's going to be another good test for our guys. Mason is going to come in here looking for an opportunity to come after us and we've got to respond."