Ball State swept in road match against UCLA
The Ball State men’s volleyball team dropped its match against the No. 4 UCLA Bruins 3-0 at Pauley Pavilion on March 7.
UCLA ran a two-setter offense, a system that many college offenses do not run anymore.
“We haven’t seen that in a long time, in men’s volleyball period,” head coach Joel Walton said. “Why many teams have gone away from that because it’s hard to get two setters that are going to deliver the ball similarly.”
Both of the Bruins setters Micah Ma’a and Hagen Smith finished with 22 assists. The pair also finished with 8 of the Bruins’ 45 total kills.
This is the Cardinals’ second straight loss after winning 11 straight prior to a March 5 loss at Grand Canyon.
Against UCLA, Ball State struggled to get its offense started as it finished with a .160 attack percentage compared to UCLA’s .430.
Consistency is something that Walton wants to see as Ball State moves through its remaining schedule.
“We’ve got to really work on our offense, we want to see the guys communicate more and hear the guys communicate more,” Walton said.
Ball State has not finished with an attack percentage over .300 since Feb. 12 in a home sweep against Barton College.
Against UCLA, junior outside attacker Mike Scannell led the way for the Cardinals offense with 12 kills. Junior outside attacker Brendan Surane had 7 kills and sophomore outside attacker Mitch Weiler finished with 4 kills.
Midway through both the first and second sets, the Cardinals kept the score close before losing momentum. They dropped three sets with scores of 25-19, 25-18 and 25-20, respectively.
Ball State came into the match after playing two consecutive matches at Grand Canyon in Phoenix, Ariz. on March 4 and 5.
“We’ve been traveling a lot … that’s not the reason we lost,” senior setter Hiago Garchet said. “They just had a lot more serve pressure on their side than we did on our side.”
This was the third time this season that Ball State was swept by an opponent; the previous two losses came from No. 6 Penn State and No. 3 Stanford.
“[UCLA] is a great team, they are not ranked fourth in the country for no reason,” Garchet said. “They’re consistent, they dig a lot of balls, so it’s hard to guard against UCLA for sure.”
Ball State will return home for a home match against Mount Olive on at 2 p.m. on March 13. This will be one of two non-conference matches the Cardinals have left on their schedule.