Stanford sweeps Ball State men's volleyball in season opener
Ball State's men's volleyball is officially underway, and the Cardinals were outmatched in a three-set loss at home on Jan. 8.
No. 12 Stanford commanded the first set, coming away with a 25-14 win over No. 14 Ball State. The Cardinals came out stronger in the second set, but Stanford would eventually win 25-21. The third set was back and forth until Stanford pulled away, winning the third and final set 25-18 to complete the 3-0 match victory.
Head coach Joel Walton was displeased with the way Ball State responded — not physically, but mentally.
Ball State Team Statistics
Attack Percentage - .221
Kills - 32
Digs - 18
Total Blocks - 8
“I was really disappointed with how we responded emotionally. I thought our attitude was back on our heels most of the night,” Walton said.
Ball State committed a number of service errors, finishing the game with a serve average of 73.9 percent, compared to Stanford’s 86.3 percent.
Senior outside attacker Marcin Niemczewski credits the team's performance to the energy level throughout the match.
“We came out and the moment we started losing, heads were dropping and the energy was kind of lost,” Niemczewski said.
Niemczewski led the Cardinals with 12 kills and finished with a .276 attack percentage, one dig and one block assist.
However, his play was shadowed on the other side of the net by Stanford outside hitter Madison Hayden, who recorded 13 kills, a service ace and six digs on the evening..
“Some of the stuff that we have to be able to do is to see that there is a hot hand on the court and be able to slow that guy down if he’s on the other side of the net,” Walton said.
It was the first game for the Cardinals, but Walton said the jitters of opening the season are no excuse for the loss.
“[There were] a little bit of jitters, it was a nice crowd — but again, our guys have to get over that. We're playing at home, we got to take advantage of that," Walton said. "We got a West Coast team in our building; these guys have to figure out how to relax and gel as a team on the court, get some momentum and hold on to it."
Ball State was unable to turn the more than 1,300 fans at Worthen arena to its advantage.
Stanford is the first of eight ranked teams in the 2016 American Volleyball Coaches Association Division l-ll men’s volleyball preseason poll that the Cardinals will face this season. Three of those ranked opponents are in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association along with the Cardinals.
Ball State returns to the court 7:30 p.m. Jan. 9 to face off against Alderson Broaddus.
“I’d like to see our guys send a much different [vibe] — one of confidence, one of ability — because I do think this team has a lot of ability, and they need to show that," Walton said.