MEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Ball State needs win to stay in MIVA race

Cards hit the road for a pair of games

Perfection is what Ball State University is looking for this weekend as they play two Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association matches at Quincy University.

With two losses in conference action, the Cardinals can't afford a loss in either of the two games against the Hawks.

"It's vital," coach Joel Walton said. "We are already a couple of games behind the conference leaders in the MIVA. Quincy is a team that plays good volleyball. They just struggle picking up wins against conference leaders. A loss there would make it extremely difficult for us to make it back to first and could possibly keep us out of a second place finish."

Ball State is 6-2 (1-2 MIVA) and has not lost a match to Quincy (2-4, 0-1 MIVA) since 2001. At that time the Cardinals' freshmen were all in elementary school.

"It's a conference match so we are not going to take anything lightly," senior outside attacker Matt Sprague said. "In the past [Quincy] has not fared so well, but each team is getting better every year. They've taken a couple of games from us the last couple of years, so we are not going to take anything for granted."

Quincy is the only school in the MIVA Ball State will not play at home this season. Playing at Quincy back-to-back Friday and Saturday means Ball State will host Quincy twice next season.

"You have to be able to adjust," Walton said. "Usually the second night a team is starting to figure out the night before what you did was successful, and they will try to take those things away."

Walton will use a different combination of players for the two games to keep the Hawks off balance.

"It's going to require some depth from our bench," Walton said. "Maybe holding a couple of things back and using them that second night against Quincy."

The Cardinals are looking to get Outside Attacker Jamion Hartley back from his ankle injury after he missed last week's loss to the Ohio State University.

Outside attacker Marcus Imwalle will undergo knee surgery Friday and will miss at least a month.

Friday's match at Quincy will be Ball State's first since losing to Ohio State a week ago.

"I'm really looking forward to playing again," Walton said. "It's a chance to erase the memories from Ohio State and replace them with better memories and the knowledge that we can play good volleyball for a complete match."


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