No. 10 Ball State to defend ranking against Lindenwood

The men's volleyball team continues to prove itself worthy of a top ranking in the national polls. Having a flawless record of 3-0 for the season, Ball State is currently ranked 10th in the nation by both the USA Today/AVCA Coaches and Volleyball Magazine polls. The only other Mideastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association member ranked ahead of the Cards is Loyola-Chicago, ninth in both polls as well.

Although Ball State has a perfect record, they have not stopped trying to improve on its weak spots and even its strong points.

"We had two focuses this week (and both focuses) are a big portion of our offense," said head coach Joel Walton. To prepare for Lindenwood, the team has been tirelessly attempting to perfect its play variations and sets for other teammates.

One of many strong aspects of the Cardinals' offense is their serving. Walton is pleased that they have "served consistently, but we haven't served tough."

Ball State plays host one more time before finally hitting the road to play. The team's next opponent is out-of-conference foe Lindenwood. The two teams met last year and, although Ball State needed only three games to claim match, Lindenwood made sure the Cardinals worked for every point won, winning no game by more than four.

"(Lindenwood) is good in its conference and it has a good coach," Walton said. "Last year, we played all our starters from start to finish and it was close the whole match."

In its last outing, Ball State, playing the last of four straight home games Sunday, defeated the visiting Rutgers-Newark in five games with scores of 28-30, 31-29, 30-22, 23-30 and 18-16. Although the Cards came out a bit flat against Rutgers-Newark, they were able to swing momentum in their favor just in time, and they hope to maintain that momentum against Lindenwood.

"We need to be emotionally ready to play," Walton said. "We didn't do a good job of that against Rutgers and that (emotion) will be important come Sunday."

One of the obvious advantages that showed last Saturday was the crowd factor.

"The crowds we've had have been fantastic," Walton said. "We really appreciate the support and energy of the fans. We have a great team this year and we are hoping the support will continue throughout the entire season."

Sunday's match against Lindenwood starts at 2 p.m.


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