Entering a home tilt against Loyola Chicago (8-5, 4-0 MIVA), Ball State Men’s Volleyball (9-2, 3-1 MIVA) was undefeated in six matches at home and undefeated in their first three Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) matches.
The Ramblers ended both of those streaks in their 3-1 win against Ball State Feb. 19.
The Cardinals started the match by winning the first set 25-19, but suffered a "reverse sweep," as Loyola Chicago won the following three sets 25-23, 25-21 and 25-20 respectively.
Ball State head coach Donan Cruz said the loss came down to the Cardinals’ momentum and failure to withstand the opposition as they did in their 3-2 win against Purdue Fort-Wayne Feb. 17.
“Really we just struggled to gain momentum,” Cruz said. “[The] other night I think we figured out a recipe to turn it around. I think today we just struggled to be able to turn it around… I still thought we did okay attacking-wise, they just killed us in serve receive and we let some balls drop that I thought we could have got a platform on.”
Senior outside attacker Kaleb Jenness led the Cardinals in kills for the third straight match with 18 while graduate student setter Quinn Isaacson tallied a team-high 42 assists. Graduate student libero Colin Ensalaco and senior outside attacker Nick Martinksi had eight digs each.
Jenness said Ball State’s post-match huddle was about settling into its performance as well as their opponent’s.
“Coach wanted to keep it short,” Jenness said. “He didn't want to think about it too much. Give it a day to settle in. We basically said, ‘we win together, we lose together. We got to get through this and have a good week of practice.’”
Isaacson said the Cardinal's mentality remains the same after the loss: to be playing their best volleyball when the MIVA Tournament begins April 16.
“We didn't necessarily play our best tonight and that's gonna happen,” Isaacson said. “We've harped on the first couple of weeks now and [we will] for the next few months. We want to be playing our best volleyball in May. It’s a bump in the road, but we’ve got to be able to adjust.”
Ball State remains at Worthen Arena for its next matchup against Lindenwood (3-5, 1-2 MIVA) Feb. 24. First set is 7 p.m.