Ball State won its 13th match in row in straight sets (25-21, 25-17, 25-20) against I-69 rival IPFW on Saturday night. Another win against a conference opponent, all that changed was the stakes.

The Cardinals looked like it was business as usual in the first round of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association conference tournament as they ended the Mastodons’ season.

“I think it’s our team leaning on experience,” coach Joel Walton said. “They aren’t letting anything distract them.”

Without any one player exploding for big numbers, it was a cohesive and collectively dominating performance from No. 9 team in the country.

Ball State hit .338 to IPFW’s .080 for the match. Ball State’s five all-MIVA frontline players proved their merits and outblocked IPFW 14 to 5.

Throughout the match, IPFW setter Omar Rivera tried using quick sets to beat the Ball State block, but those attempts were often thwarted, leaving IPFW attackers on islands.

Even though the Cardinals only recorded two aces in the match, their service pressure keep the Mastodons out of system for a majority of the match, something Ball State capitalized on frequently. 

“As a team, as a unit, we put ourselves in good positions,” senior outside hitter Jamion Hartley said.

Hartley recorded a match-high 11 kills, and continued his torrid offensive pace he has been on the past 13 matches. 

Ball State’s win was a stepping stone in the MIVA Tournament, and the team is exuding a sense of confidence.

So how can they lose?

“I don’t know, I really don’t know,” Hartley said. “We’d have to give up on ourselves, and I don’t see that happening.”