Men's volleyball takes 10-match win streak out west for road trip
The Ball State men’s volleyball team is ranked eighth in the National Collegiate Athletic Association and will head west for three straight matches after finishing its six-match home stand.
The Cardinals (13-3, 7-0) didn't lose in the entire month of February and are on a 10-match winning streak.
Coach Joel Walton said this season's schedule has been no easy task for the Cardinals.
Fri, Mar 04 - at Grand Canyon
Sat, Mar 05 - at Grand Canyon
Mon, Mar 07 - at UCLA
Sun, Mar 13 - vs. Mount Olive
“I’m proud of our guys coming through the first couple of months because the road stretch that we put in front of them in January was difficult, and they really responded,” Walton said.
The Cardinals begin their road trip in Arizona March 5-6 as they take on Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association rival Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon (9-7, 2-4) plays a different type of season then any other MIVA conference team.
“It’s a weekend unlike any other weekend we play in our conference,” Walton said.
When Grand Canyon plays games, since they are so far away from other MIVA schools, teams play them both Friday and Saturday nights.
“Playing well and winning night one means absolutely nothing when you get to that second night,” Walton said.
Last season when Grand Canyon traveled to Muncie, the Cardinals lost in five sets one night and swept the Antelopes in three sets the next night.
“There’s a lot of different nuances and psychologies that go into that match that make it difficult,” Walton said.
After Grand Canyon, Ball State visits fourth-ranked UCLA (15-3) on March 7. The Bruins and the Cardinals have the most wins in NCAA men's volleyball history and will compete for the first time since 2011. UCLA is 22-3 all time against the Cardinals.
Ball State and UCLA currently rank third and fourth in the NCAA in blocks per set. The Cardinals are averaging 2.84, while the Bruins average 2.64. One of the Cardinals' top blockers, sophomore middle attacker Matt Walsh, was just named MIVA Defensive Player of the Week. Walsh is averaging 1.11 blocks per set along with his 1.50 kills per set.
Walsh and the Cardinals return home March 13, hosting Mount Olive at 2 p.m.