It's now been six years since Ball State men's volleyball last won at Lewis's Neil Carey Arena.
After winning the first set, Ball State dropped three consecutive sets in a 3-1 (27-25, 21-25, 17-25, 17-25) loss to No. 7 Lewis on Friday night.
The Cardinals (11-3, 3-2 MIVA) 4-0, 5-0 and 6-0 runs in the three remaining sets as the Ramblers (10-3, 5-2 MIVA) rallied behind the serving and offense of redshirt sophomore outside hitter Mitch Perinar.
"He's not typically one of their best servers but he just kept getting behind the line and we didn't pass very well so it made it hard for us to run our offense," head coach Joel Walton said. "We got stuck in a rotation with Perinar serving and it took the wind out of our sails."
Ball State had an attack percentage of .198 — its lowest all season. The Cardinals also had 26 attack errors, which was a season high. Walton said the team's passing struggles led to these issues.
Kills: Brendan Surane — 17
Assists: Connor Gross — 44
Digs: Matt Szews — 10
Total Blocks: Matt Szews — 4
"Everything feeds off of the pass," Walton said. "If [Connor Gross] isn't able to be up at the net, it becomes more difficult for us to be effective offensively."
The Cardinals were led offensively by senior outside attacker Brendan Surane, who finished with 17 kills, and freshman outside attacker Matt Szews, who finished with 14 kills and 10 digs.
The Ramblers were led by Perinar and redshirt freshman outside hitter Ryan Coenen, who finished with a match-high 21 kills. Lewis also used redshirt sophomore libero Jake Walenga as an outside hitter, which Walton said made Lewis more difficult to stop.
"He gave them a second strong passer and was able to help them maintain a decent offense," Walton said. "There were a lot of things working to their advantage with just that one substitution."
Ball State will continue its road trip with a match against No. 10 Loyola-Chicago (8-4, 4-1 MIVA) at 8 p.m. Saturday.