Issues in consistency continue for Ball State Men's Volleyball in loss to No. 5 BYU

<p>Junior Parker Swartz serves the ball for the Cardinals against Quincy on March 31 at John E. Worthen Arena. Ball State won three games in a row. <strong>Rebecca Slezak, DN</strong></p>

Junior Parker Swartz serves the ball for the Cardinals against Quincy on March 31 at John E. Worthen Arena. Ball State won three games in a row. Rebecca Slezak, DN

No. 14 Ball State Men’s Volleyball (2-3, 0-0 MIVA) held multiple leads of two or more points early in each set against No. 5 Brigham Young (2-0, 0-0 MPSF) Saturday, but balanced offense from the Cougars would push them to victory as the Cardinals would drop the match. 3-0.

The match was the Cardinals’ third straight against a ranked opponent and the final of a two match road trip.

“Some of the areas where we’ve been inconsistent continued tonight,” head coach Joel Walton said. “We made more mistakes and we need to get better.”

The Cardinals would open set one with a 4-1 lead, although the Cougars would rebound quickly and force Ball State to take both of its timeouts. The Cougars would go on a five point scoring run to win the first set, 25-17.

The second set saw a beginning reminiscent of the first for the Cardinals. Two kills from senior outside hitter David Siebum would boost Ball State to a 9-4 lead. The Cougars would catch up as both teams would continue to trade leads throughout the set, but BYU would score six of the final eight points to win set two 25-20. 

The Cougars would keep their energy and win set three 25-18, sweeping the match, 3-0. Freshman outside attacker Kaleb Jenness and junior outside attacker Matt Szews would lead the Cardinals in kills with seven each, while sophomore setter Quinn Isaacson had 17 assists.

As a team, the Cardinals would lead 75-64 in attacks. However, a .107 hitting percentage compared with the Cougars’ .375 was a major factor in the BYU victory. Defensively, the Cardinals had six total blocks and 12 digs. 

Although Walton was disappointed with the loss, he said the match allowed him to recognize which specific areas the Cardinals need to improve and that each match in the future will be a test of whether they’ve done so or not.

“Correcting [our mistakes] is gonna help our guys in the matches, but we need to work at getting better when we play good teams,” Walton said. “The weaknesses that we have are being exposed and we’re going to continue to play highly ranked teams for the rest of the season.”

The Cardinals are not in action until Friday at home against UC Santa-Barbara, which is the first of two matches in this year’s Don Shondell Active Ankle Challenge. First serve is set for 7 p.m. 

Contact Connor Smith with any comments at cnsmith@bsu.edu or on Twitter @cnsmithbsu

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