Tied at 12 midway through the fourth set and trailing two sets to one, sophomore middle attacker Parker Swartz came flying in high for his second kill of the night to give No. 12 Ball State men's volleyball a 13-12 lead — its first since 6-5 early in the set.
After that kill, Swartz pumped his fist and turned around to celebrate with his teammates and the momentum seemed to have shifted to the Cardinals' side.
"He's a big energy guy for us," junior middle attacker Matt Walsh said. "Every time he got a kill he would turn around and cheer and it kind of got us out of that flat mood and carried us throughout the rest of the game."
Swartz's career-high fifth kill to give the Cardinals an 8-6 lead at the side switch in the fifth set proved to be a big one as Ball State would never trail again and finished off the comeback victory 3-2 (23-25, 25-20, 24-26, 26-24, 15-12) over Quincy.
"I love being able to get out there and give energy to the guys," Swartz said. "I love being able to serve and everything but when I can get into the game and go up there and get some blocks and kills, that just gets me and my teammates even more fired up."
Kills: Brendan Surane — 14
Assists: Connor Gross — 53
Service Aces: Matt Walsh — 4
Digs: Adam Wessell — 16
Total Blocks: Mitch Weiler, Matt Walsh — 4
After finishing with their highest attack percentage of the year in their first match against the Hawks in February, the Cardinals (16-8, 7-6 MIVA) finished with an attack percentage of .131, their lowest of the season.
"We really struggled to generate offense all night long," Ball State head coach Joel Walton said. "We relaxed a bit and really weren't able to come through with any offense until set 5 — we're still struggling offensively and we have to continue to improve on that."
After falling behind two sets to one to Quincy (6-19, 1-12 MIVA), Matt Walsh started to catch fire in the fourth and fifth sets. He had seven kills and two service aces in the final two sets. Walsh's serves at the end of the fourth set helped to keep the Cardinals in the match.
"I was trying to keep my head clear and just stay calm," Walsh said. "Coach has been on me about making my serve more aggressive and I just tried to focus on that tonight and it paid off."
For the Cardinals, this was their first home match in over four weeks and thanks to a group from Cowan Elementary School, Worthen Arena was deafening at times with hundreds of kids screaming at the top of their lungs.
For many of the players, especially Swartz, it was nice to have a group that rallied behind them and "yelled their heads off."
"That really made me smile," Swartz said. "It made all of the guys smile, even during the hard times."
Ball State will return to action at 7:30 p.m. Saturday for a match against Lindenwood.