Ball State's setter Connor Gross, middle attacker Matt Walsh and outside attacker Brendan Surane attempt to block the ball during the game against Saint Francis Jan. on 12 in Worthen Arena. The Cardinals moved up to no. 13 in the NCAA AVCA Division I-II Coaches Poll after the team's wins against St. Francis and Penn State. Terence K. Lightning Jr. // DN File
RECAP: Ball State men's volleyball vs. Sacred Heart
Ball State men's volleyball finished its two-game East Coast road trip with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-22) win over Sacred Heart (3-1) to improve to 6-1 on the season and increase its winning streak to four games.
The Cardinals trailed 6-2 late in the third set but went on a 5-0 run to take a 7-6 lead and never trailed again. For the second night in a row, senior outside attacker Brendan Surane sealed the win for Ball State with a kill.
"We weren't overly concerned when we got behind because it was a lot of our own errors — it wasn't necessarily Sacred Heart earning points," head coach Joel Walton said. "Once we steadied and were able to close that gap, our defense took over blocking, and we were able to win some points again."
Kills: Mitch Weiler - 12
Assists: Connor Gross - 34
Digs: Adam Wessell - 7
Blocks: Matt Walsh - 4
Service Aces: Matt Szews - 2
Ball State controlled the first two sets of the match, as they led the first set wire to wire and never trailed by more than one point in the second set. The Cardinals finished with a .357 hitting percentage, their second-best hitting performance of the season. Walton said he was impressed by junior middle attacker Matt Walsh, who finished with 9 kills and 5 digs.
"When you have a middle attacker as potent as Walsh, he just puts a lot of pressure on the other team," Walton said. "When you're able to get the defense to commit and jump, that attacker gets to attack one-on-one and that creates good opportunities for them."
Sacred Heart redshirt sophomore right side Emerson Waumans led the Pioneers with 13 kills, including five in the third set, but it wasn’t quite enough.
The Cardinals had strong performances from junior outside attacker Mitch Weiler, who finished with a team-high 12 kills and 5 digs and sophomore libero Adam Wessell, who led the team with seven digs.
Ball State returns to Worthen Arena next week for matches against George Mason at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26 and against New Jersey Institute of Technology at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27.