In a weekend head coach Joel Walton called "significant," the men's volleyball team could only achieve half of its two-win goal.
The Cardinals (15-6 overall, 9-1 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) split a pair of road matches, losing to Lewis 21-30, 21-30, 24-30, and sweeping Quincy 23-30, 22-30, 28-30.
Walton said there several factors led to Friday's loss against No. 11 Lewis (15-8, 10-1), including problems for Ball State on both sides of the net.
"They jumped all over us early and kept the pressure on," Walton said. "We had problems sustaining any kind of consistent play."
Walton also said "there was no one thing or one person" who contributed positively to the match, saying the team "played so poorly in many aspects of the game."
He said Lewis' tough serving and strong offense two highlighted their effort.
The Cardinals traveled to Quincy, Ill., Saturday in search of its first win in nearly three weeks and was greeted with Quincy's "Pack the House Night." Fortunately for the Cards, Quincy (14-6, 7-5) did not reach its goal of 1,000 in attendance, instead reaching an official count of 444.
"I don't think it had the effect Quincy was hoping it would have," Walton said. "We were settled in and comfortable all the way through the match."
Walton said the team is disappointed in the loss to Lewis because it missed "a chance to distance ourselves from our closest competitor in the league race,"
Assuming both teams win their remaining conference matches, Ball State is set up for a tie-breaker with Lewis, with each team's loss coming to the other. Lewis, however, holds the advantage by winning one game fewer than Ball State did in the previous match between the two.
Despite losing its first Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association match of the season and losing six of its last seven, the team is looking to right itself and work on areas that need improvement to accomplish its final goal of winning a conference title.
"We know we can play at a high level and we just want to get back to that point," Walton said. "As much as anything, this has given the guys a challenge as we continue to work toward our conference championship."