Cards continue hunt for title

Ball State earns highest mark in four years with No 7 rank.

No. 7 Ball State (9-1 overall, 4-0 MIVA) continues its hunt for another Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association title as it hosts Quincy (7-2, 1-1) tonight at 7 p.m.

Ball State has a four-game winning streak and perfect conference record at stake and will attempt to keep both intact.

The Cardinals are looking forward to the match against the Hawks, according to head coach Joel Walton said, as the history between the two schools exposes less than the true value of the match for both teams.

"Quincy is a team we tend to get pretty hyped for," Walton said. "We have had matches with both verbal and other exchanges that have helped motivate both teams and I expect this match to be very competitive."

Walton also said he expects Ball State's history against Quincy should help this week. The all-time series is heavily in Ball State's favor, 14-2. The two teams split last season's meetings with the home team winning each contest.

Walton says this match is important for the team in terms of the strength of its opponent as well as keeping the streak alive. He ranks the Hawks as being "one of the top six teams in our conference." He also expressed the team's need to continue to work toward the higher goal of winning the MIVA title.

"It is still very early in the year to predict where teams will finish," Walton said. "We still have a lot of volleyball to play to determine our final conference ranking."

Junior Kyle Weindel was named the MIVA Player of the Week for this week. He averaged 4.50 kills per game while hitting .456 and adding 1.30 digs per game during the week to help the Cards win all three conference matches. He is the first Ball State player to receive the honor since Amatai Sasson for March 20, 2001.

"It's a great honor for (him)," said Walton. "He has been very consistent this entire season and he is a main reason our team is playing well this year."

This week, the Cardinals have earned their highest ranking in more than four years.

Ball State is currently ranked No. 7 in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll after being ranked 10th in the preseason. The Cards defeated conference opponent and No. 9 Lewis last week to initiate the move.

Ball State was last ranked seventh at the end of the 1997 season, which was also its last MIVA title and NCAA appearance. During that season, the Cards were ranked as high as sixth.


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