After dropping the first two sets, No. 12 Ball State men's volleyball fought back in the third set to a 15-11 lead midway through the set — but they wouldn't get any closer than that.
UC Irvine would go on a 4-0 run to tie the set and force a Ball State timeout. The Anteaters also went on a 5-0 run late in the set to seal the 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-19) victory over the Cardinals in a neutral court meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
Ball State (14-6, 6-4 MIVA) started out the match with a kill from freshman outside attacker Matt Szews, but UC Irvine would quickly answer with a 6-0 run. The Anteaters were able to build up runs in each of the three sets with four runs of 4-0 or greater.
UC Irvine (14-6, 9-5 MPSF) had a strong offensive attack, finishing the match with an attack percentage of .481 compared to the Cardinals' attack percentage of .216.
The Cardinals were led offensively by Szews, who finished the match with 11 kills. Senior outside attacker Edgardo Cartagena finished with six kills, a season high this season. Cartagena started the match over junior outside attacker Mitch Weiler.
Ball State stat leaders:
Kills: Matt Szews - 11
Assists: Connor Gross - 27
Service Aces: Matt Szews - 2
Digs: Connor Gross - 8
Ball State finished the match with one total team block — their lowest all season. The Anteaters finished the match with five total team blocks.
The Cardinals remain in Columbus for a match against UC San Diego at 5 p.m. tomorrow.