After three home matches, No. 14 Ball State Men’s Volleyball (2-1, 0-0 MIVA) will head on the road to face No. 11 Stanford (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) and No. 5 Brigham Young (0-0, 0-0 MPSF) on January 10 and 12.
Head coach Joel Walton continues to stress the importance of consistency to his team, which has been a major focus for the Cardinals since their preseason and after Monday’s 0-3 loss to No. 3 UC-Irvine.
“We can only play at a level we’re capable of, but we want to take steps forward which will hopefully have a cumulative effect,” Walton said.
Thursday’s match will be the first time in nearly a year the Cardinal and the Cardinals have met. The last time the two teams played one another was on January 13, 2018 in Worthen Arena, which Ball State was swept, 3-0.
The Cougars and Cardinals also met in Worthen last season on January 12, 2018. The Cardinals would lose the match 3-1, although current junior outside attacker Matt Szews had 17 kills and nine digs in the match.
Szews currently leads the team in the kills category this season with 29. He is one of four players on the team to have appeared in all 11 of their sets this season, along with senior libero Adam Wessel, senior middle attacker Parker Swartz and senior outside hitter David Siebum.
Walton said he hopes for improved levels of energy in both matches, but recognizes it will be a crucial test to go on the road against two top-15 ranked opponents. The Cougars have averaged an .844 winning percentage at home over the past three seasons.
“Our guys are capable of playing well,” Walton said. “We’ve seen that in moments in our preseason, we’ve seen it in our first three matches. It’s just about sustaining our effort and level of focus.”
The Cardinals will face the Cardinal Thursday at 10 p.m.