Ball State men's volleyball knocks off No. 8 Loyola 3-1
The 12th-ranked Ball State men’s volleyball team (10-3, 4-0 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) defeated the reigning NCAA champions, No. 8 Loyola University (8-4, 3-2 MIVA), in four sets.
“This is amazing, this is why we come here every morning, especially for me being a senior,” senior setter Hiago Garchet said.
The Cardinals won the first set by a score of 26-24. Both teams began the match with a slow serving percentage, the Cardinals at .840 and the Ramblers at .880.
In the first, Ball State spread the wealth in the kill category — five players added two kills for a total of 12 in the set.
Ball State got off to a slow start in the second set, falling behind 1-4 early. The Cardinals were able to regain their momentum by winning the second set 25-23, even with the team's attack percentage of .226.
Head coach Joel Walton said it was the Cardinals' defense that threw off the Ramblers throughout the night.
“We frustrated [Trevor] Novotny and [Jeff] Jendryk; those two kids are the heart and soul and they drive that team,” Walton said. “When they’re playing well, its usually because those two kids are playing well.”
Loyola took the third set 25-20. The Ramblers added 15 kills with a team attack percentage of .303 in the set.
After going back and forth, Ball State sealed the match in the fourth set, winning 25-23. Junior outside attacker Mike Scannell led the team in kills with 11, while sophomore outside attacker Mitch Weiler, junior outside attacker Brendan Surane and sophomore middle attacker Matt Walsh all tagged seven on the night.
Defensively, the Cardinals were again led by freshman libero Adam Wessel, who made his presence known by racking up 18 digs in the match.
“I felt like I was doing well but I didn’t get in my head,” Wessel said. “I really wanted to win this match, so that’s what I was focused on — just doing everything I could to help this team.”
Junior middle attacker Alex Pia, who was named MIVA Defensive Player of the Week last week, put up four blocks and five kills in the match.
The Cardinals are on a seven-game winning streak and continue to lead the MIVA with the conference's only undefeated record.
Ball State returns to Worthen to continue its six-match home stretch on Feb. 18 when it hosts No. 14 Lewis University.