For the second straight match, the men's volleyball team came out with a win after starting with two set losses. After starting off slow against McKendree University, Ball State came back to win the match, 3-2.

The team's match against George Mason University on Jan. 30 started off the same way — losing the first two sets, then winning the last three for a win.

Despite the win, head coach Joel Walton isn't very pleased with the way his team has been starting matches.

Set scores:

1st - 23-25

2nd - 22-25

3rd - 25-15

4th - 33-31

5th - 15-7

“It’s frustrating,” Walton said. “We’re not starting very well. When the team is against the wall, we can show we want to fight, but we need to make sure the guys get warmed up and prepared.”

After the second game, the players went to the locker room, not happy with how they were playing.

“We started off slow; it was not our best game on the road,” said junior outside attacker Brendan Surane. “We all sat down and realized that we didn’t want to lose this game, especially since it’s our first conference game.”

Surane once again led the Cardinals attack with a team-high 15 kills. Three other Cardinals finished in double digit kills as well, including sophomore outside attacker Mitch Weiler (12), junior middle attacker Alex Pia (11) and sophomore middle attacker Matt Walsh (10).

Walton said the coaches challenged the guys, hoping to get them to play the way they knew they were capable of playing.

“We were putting additional pressure on ourselves which made them make mistakes and we would get angry — partly because of the mistake and partly because we should have been beating them,” he said. “There was a void preventing the guys from connecting with each other.”

While the team kicked it up in the third set, the fourth set was when the desire to win shined through.

The team had to battle to win the match, going into a “deuce game,” as Walton called it. This means the winning team must win by two points in an overtime game.

While they ended up winning the set 33-31, it went eight points further than a game normally does.

“We had to battle for the match,” Walton said. “There’s an added pressure and you have to be able to still function and still be able to play. But they were doing anything they could to keep the ball going, making spectacular plays and dives.”

However, Surane said that added pressure didn’t impact him.

“It gets easier because it’s so in the moment, you don’t have time to think,” he said. “You just think, ‘What can we do now, how can we get that next point?’”

Senior setter Hiago Garchet said it was tough for him to have all the weight on their shoulders to get the win.

“We couldn’t second guess ourselves,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to learn; we can prove that we can do it and push through it."

Ball State will complete its six-match road trip against MIVA rival Ohio State on Feb. 6.