Drew Pierce is a junior journalism major and is a columnist for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the paper.
Ball State Men’s Volleyball completed the ultimate comeback by defeating one of the best teams in the country on the road last weekend.
After playing its first two matches of the season at home, Ball State hit the road and spent the next six matches in different states. After defeating Cal State Northridge in the first match of the series, the Cardinals went on to lose three straight. Ball State looked burnt out and was stuck in a rut, adding even more stress.
Just when everything was going wrong for the Cardinals, one of the toughest teams in the country was due up on the schedule. Last Friday, Ball State traveled to No. 7 Penn State in hopes of ending a three-match skid.
Not only did the Cardinals end their struggles, but they waltzed right into the Rec Hall and swept the Nittany Lions 3-0. Could there be a better way to end a skid? The answer is no. This was the best possible way for Ball State to get back on track.
It was clear the Cardinals hit a rough patch, which can be expected when on a long road stretch. After Ball State’s 3-0 loss to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, head coach Joel Walton told The Daily News staying on the road is tough for his squad. While the constant road competition has taken its toll, the dominating victory over Penn State provided a breath of fresh air for a team struggling to get back into the groove.
To take down the seventh-best team in the country after dropping three straight was huge. The momentum from Friday’s match carried over into Saturday when Ball State swept Saint Francis.
There could not be a better time for the Cardinals to come back home. Ball State will host Urbana Thursday to begin a four-match homestand.
With any team, there are hills and valleys that form throughout the season. The Cardinals are on their highest hill of the year, and it is very possible they keep it up through February into March.
The fall of Penn State marked the first time this season Ball State was able to take down a nationally-ranked opponent. Ball State took on No. 3 UC Santa Barbara and No. 11 George Mason in January, but the Cardinals could not come out on top against either of them.
There was no better way for Ball State to turn around its season than what happened in Pennsylvania last week. Being back home for a while will surely end with the Cardinals dominating their competition for much of the remaining spring schedule.