Coming off four straight losses, the Ball State men's volleyball team swept McKendree on Friday at Worthen Arena.

The Bearcats came into Worthen Arena winless in conference play.

"It's hard when you play a young team with freshman that we aren't used to," head coach Joel Walton said. "I thought we got better as the match went on."

Alaina Jaye Halsey

Senior outside attacker Matt Sutherland hits the ball during the game against McKendree on Feb. 20 at Worthen Arena. DN PHOTO ALAINA JAYE HALSEY

The Cardinals' starting lineup included two new faces - sophomore setter Connor Gross and freshman libero Mitch Weiler. Walton cited the team's serving game as reason for the change.

Coming out of the gate, McKendree took a 6-3 lead which forced Walton to use his first timeout. The set remained tight, but the Cardinals came out on top 25-22.

Following the first set victory, the Cardinals slipped away with a 25-22 victory in the second set.

The Cardinals used the second-set momentum to capture their third set of the night 25-23. 

Despite the tight set scores, the offense was clicking all night for the Cardinals.

Senior outside attacker Matt Sutherland finished with 16 kills, four digs and a block while junior outside attacker Marcin Niemczewski had 17 kills, one ace, six digs and three blocks.

Coming off of a few disappointing performances, Sutherland was pleased to play well against McKendree.

"My lower back has been bothering me the past couple weeks, and this is the first time it hasn't hurt at all," Sutherland said. "I was ready to go and we played well, but we need to work on our blocking and energy on the court."

The Cardinals finished with four aces, two of which coming from sophomore outside attacker Brendan Surane.

Ball State will return to action on Saturday as it takes on Ohio State, who is currently 4-0 in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association.