The men's volleyball team celebrates after winning the game against Saint Francis 3-0 on Jan. 12 in Worthen Arena. Terence K. Lightning Jr. // DN
Ball State men's volleyball stretches win streak to four with two road wins
Ball State men's volleyball continued their hot streak on the East Coast this past weekend with wins over Harvard University and Sacred Heart University to improve to 6-1 on the season.
The Cardinals, who are ranked No. 13 in the NCAA AVCA Division I-II Coaches Poll, started the road trip off with a 3-2 win over Harvard (25-20, 23-25, 25-17, 20-25, 15-13) Jan. 20. The following day they capped the weekend off with a 3-0 win over Sacred Heart (25-18, 25-22, 25-22).
Head coach Joel Walton was impressed with how well the team played on the road.
Weekend Stat Leaders:
Kills: Mitch Weiler — 26
Assists: Connor Gross — 83
Digs: Adam Wessell — 20
Blocks: Matt Walsh — 9
Service Aces: Matt Szews — 4
"Any time you put the amount of travel on a team like we did this weekend and you step on someone else's home court two nights in a row, it's hard to come away with victories," Walton said. "I'm pleased with the job that our guys did in those foreign environments."
The Cardinals had a hitting percentage of over .300 in both matches.
Junior outside attacker Mitch Weiler finished the weekend with a team-high 26 kills, 14 against Harvard and 12 against Sacred Heart. The Cardinals also had a strong offensive showing over the weekend from junior middle attacker Matt Walsh who finished the road trip with 21 kills.
"Good offense takes physical personnel," Walton said. "On offense you have to have some physical players and we did a nice job of that."
Coach Walton was also impressed with the team's passing over the weekend. Sophomore libero Adam Wessel led the Cardinals with 20 digs in the two matches while Mitch Weiler also added 15 digs.
The one area where Walton said he would like to see improvement is in the serving game. The Cardinals finished the weekend with 42 service errors to only 9 aces.
"I don't know if you ever get to the point where you serve the perfect game," Walton said. "For us, it's finding that mix of serving the tough ball in play but not committing so many service errors that you're giving away your team's opportunities to score points and go on runs."
Coach Walton also said there were times this weekend when the Cardinals struggled with their blocking. Ball State finished the road trip with 13.5 blocks, 7 against Sacred Heart and 6.5 against Harvard.
"There were moments where I thought we could've blocked better [against Harvard]" Walton said. "There were some times where they were swinging right at our block and we just didn't have our hands or our block in the right places."
The Cardinals return to Worthen Arena for two matches this week hosting George Mason University Jan. 26 and New Jersey Institute of Technology Jan. 27. Both match times are set for 7:30 p.m.