“This is a huge victory for the team,” fifth-year outside attacker Kaleb Jenness said.
No. 11 Ball State Men’s Volleyball showed up and showed out in their Thursday sweep (25-21, 25-18, 27-25) over No. 10 Loyola Chicago, a Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) rematch from Feb. 16, in which the Cardinals (17-8, 10-3 MIVA) fell to the Ramblers (21-5, 11-2 MIVA) in four sets.
“We trained really hard,” head coach Donan Cruz said. “Our team is in a good rhythm and the guys are buying into what we are doing at this point of the year. We just emphasized how important it is for us to execute the little things and I thought tonight was a good reflection of that.”
Going into the contest, Ball State was second overall in MIVA standings, having already clinched a home contest for the quarterfinal round of the MIVA Tournament, starting Saturday, April 15.
The Cardinals and Loyola Chicago had an even first set, with the only difference in play coming from errors. The Ramblers had nine total errors while Ball State had six. Outside of that neither team had too large of an advantage through one set of play.
Despite a close first set, the Cardinals blew the match open in the second set, holding Loyola Chicago to a .286 hitting percentage. The Ramblers gave up seven points to Ball State through service errors too.
In the second set, the Cardinals’ offense was rolling behind a .611 hitting percentage.
The third set was similar to the first with back-and-forth play from both sides. The set even went to overtime creating tension inside Worthen Arena. However, Ball State held on to win and the fans inside responded with their voices, as they had done all night.
“We love playing in Worthen when our fans show up,” Cruz said. “I think our guys have comfort and just like anything else in life, when you got a good support group behind you, I think you can accomplish a lot.”
The Cardinals now look towards their final regular season match of the season. Saturday at 7 p.m. Worthen Arena is the battlefield as Ball State takes on rival Purdue Fort Wayne for senior and alumni night.
One message Jenness has for the Cardinals’ fans?
“Come support! You support us and we will support you, it is a great game to come to and it could be a real exciting one for us,” Jenness said.
Contact Corbin Hubert with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @corbin_hubert_