There was a lot of fight in the Cardinals’ matchup against Lindenwood Friday night. However, every time they looked for the kill, they were met by the Lions Diego Negron and Jeremy Kirch.
13 blocks by the Lions on the night set back Ball State Men’s Volleyball (9-6, 2-3 MIVA) as they would fall to Lindenwood (10-6, 3-2 MIVA), 3-1. Head coach Joel Walton said the team’s stint on the road has made wins a little more challenging to get.
“Anytime you're playing on the road it's hard, especially doing that consecutively,” Walton said. “We still have two more road games this stretch and we've got to do everything we can to get wins in those moments. When the schedule sweeps back to where we are playing at home, we're still in a place where we can get some wins and be where we want to at the end of the year in conference play.”
Lindenwood came out strong and recorded several blocks and kills to secure the first set win, 25-21. Ball State caught some momentum in the second set off of a late 5-0 run, seeing the Lions comitt three erorrs, for a 25-17 win.
Lindenwood came out strong in the third set finding its groove and recording four aces and regaining momentum. Lions had 11 aces to the Cardinals six, led off by Jeremy Kirch who recorded three.
Lindenwood committed several service errors through the entirety of the game, but Ball State couldn’t capture an advantage from it as the blocks just kept coming. Lions out-blocked the Cardinals 12 to just three. Negron and Kirch would combine for 13 individual blocks on the night. Sophomore Felix Egharevba would lead Ball State with two individual blocks.
“I think Lindenwood played well and put some pressure on us tonight, and we didn't handle that pressure very well,” Walton said. “There are moments where our guys weren't communicating in a positive manner. There were definitely guys talking and trying to pick things up but it wasn't being very well received. We have to be better as a team in these kinds of moments to win a match at a place in our conference.
Standouts for Ball State were sophomore Kaleb Jenness who recorded 20 kills on the night. Senior Courtland Scharenborg came off the bench and recorded two of the Cardinals six aces. Junior Ben Chinicci would lead Ball State in digs with 11.
Ball State will play against Quincy and Ohio State to finish out its stretch on the road before the Cardinals return home on March 7 to host Sacred Heart.