No. 10 Lewis (9-4, 3-0 MIVA) doubled No. 12 Ball State Men’s Volleyball’s (7-6, 1-2 MIVA) hitting percentage Friday, leading to a 3-0 sweep and the Cardinals’ second consecutive conference loss.
“We didn’t do a good job at neutralizing [Lewis’] offense, starting with our inability to serve consistently or get them out of system,” head coach Joel Walton said. “We weren’t anywhere close to what [Lewis] was doing offensively.”
The Flyers only recorded seven attack errors in the match compared to the Cardinals’ 18. Middle blocker Tyler Mitchem was a key force for the Flyers offensively, recording 11 kills and an .846 hitting percentage.
Set one saw junior outside attacker Matt Szews put up eight kills and a service ace, but 16 kills from the Flyers gave Lewis a 25-23 win.
The Flyers took set two, 25-21. A .062 hitting percentage in set three hurt the Cardinals, and they dropped the set, 25-17, to complete the sweep.
In addition to Mitchem’s dominance, setter Matt Yashimoto tallied 38 assists. Outside hitter Ryan Coenen also played a major part in Lewis’ victory with 13.5 points and a service ace.
“Our offense was good in game one, but we fell off in games two and three,” Walton said. “It got to a point where we weren’t passing very well, and we had to swing a lot of high balls. We just weren’t very efficient with that tonight.”
Szews said Friday’s loss was based on a combination of the Flyers’ consistency and the Cardinals’ 14 service errors. Szews led the Cardinals with 12 kills.
“It was just a matter of execution,” Szews said. “We didn’t pick up balls that we should have. We missed a lot of serves that we should be making.”
Sophomore setter Quinn Isaacson started his third straight match Friday. Despite the loss, Isaacson had a perfect hitting percentage with 32 assists and seven digs.
The Cardinals will be back in action Saturday at No. 7 Loyola, where the team ended its 2018 season with a 3-1 loss in the MIVA semifinals. Walton said the team needs to improve on its serving and capitalize on major opportunities.
“We’re playing on the road again, and we’re going to have a team in their own gym,” Walton said. “[Loyola] is going to be comfortable, and we’ve just got to find a way to get the team out of system.”