Freshman outside attacker Matt Szews hits the ball over the net during the game against Fort Wayne on Feb. 7 in Worthen Arena. The No. 11 Cardinals fell to No. 7 Lewis and No. 10 Loyola-Chicago on the road this weekend. Kyle Crawford // DN File
RECAP: No. 11 Ball State men's volleyball falls in straight sets to No. 10 Loyola
No. 11 Ball State men's volleyball has lost consecutive matches for the first time all season.
The Cardinals had a season-low attack percentage of .146 in Saturday's 3-0 (25-22, 25-11, 25-23) loss to No. 10 Loyola-Chicago.
Ball State (11-4, 3-3 Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) struggled with Loyola junior opposite hitter Ben Plaisted, who led the Ramblers (9-4, 5-1 MIVA) with 12 kills and also had a strong night behind the baseline with four service aces.
Kills: Matt Szews — 12
Assists: Connor Gross — 29
Digs: Matt Szews — 7
Total Blocks: Anthony Lebryk — 3
"It was very similar to [Lewis' Mitch Perinar's] play last night," head coach Joel Walton said. "Both of those guys went on big runs against us so there's something about how they're serving the ball and what our passers are doing against left-handed guys serving."
The Cardinals had a tight battle with the Ramblers in the first set, but the Cardinals were held to a negative attack percentage (-.182) in the second as they had their largest margin of defeat in a set (25-11) this season.
"We got into a moment where we couldn't get a ball on the floor and Loyola was making some defensive plays that they don't always make," Walton said. "They just got into a magical moment and it didn't matter who we had on the court or what we were doing, and we just couldn't overcome that."
Since the Ramblers started playing in Gentile Arena in 2012, the Cardinals have lost all six matches there, winning a total of just four sets. Walton said the environment didn't play a big factor in tonight's loss.
"Tonight, it was more about us not playing at our best and stepping on the court and not being able to perform," Walton said.
One of the bright spots for the Cardinals was freshman outside attacker Matt Szews, who finished the night with 12 kills and 7 digs.
The Cardinals hit the road again next week with matches at 7 p.m. Friday against Lindenwood and at 7 p.m. Saturday against Quincy.