After sweeping Lindenwood Friday, No. 15 Ball State (9-8, 3-4 MIVA) showed no signs of a setback Saturday against Quincy (4-13, 0-7 MIVA) as the Cardinals swept the Hawks, 3-0.
The match was the last for the Cardinals before the team heads to Honolulu, Hawaii, for the Outrigger Tournament next week.
“I think tonight, our left sides were on fire,” head coach Joel Walton said. “We’ve seen offense from different places, but we’re still trying to generate some more consistent offense from our middle. Overall, Quincy and Lindenwood are two good teams, and I’m pleased to come out with two wins this weekend.”
The Cardinals tallied six service aces in the sweep including three from junior outside attacker Matt Szews. Sophomore middle attacker Will Hippe also recorded his first kill as a Cardinal.
Sophomore outside attacker Ben Chinnici said this weekend’s victories were crucial in raising his team’s momentum. Prior to Friday’s win over Lindenwood, the Cardinals had suffered three straight losses to MIVA opponents.
“The losing streak definitely put us down,” Chinnici said, “To come back and rally before we go to Hawaii gave us a huge boost of confidence. We changed the lineup a bit, and we’re seeing results.”
The Cardinals took sets one and two, 25-22 and 25-20, respectively. Eleven attack errors and a -.111 hitting percentage in set three proved costly for the Hawks as the Cardinals went on to win the set, 25-12.
Junior outside hitter Omari Wheeler led the Hawks’ offense with 11 kills.
The Cardinals’ defense played a major role in the victory as the team finished with 11.5 blocks and 15 block assists. Chinnici said he was impressed with his team’s passing, an aspect the Cardinals struggled with during their losing streak.
“I think we got a lot of good touches on balls, and we dug a lot of balls,” Chinnici said. “Szews had 10 digs, and we knew he was going to get lit up from the right side, so to see him have 10 digs on the right side is huge.”
While Walton said he is pleased with his team’s victories after eight days off, his team will face a tough challenge at the Outrigger Tournament next week. The Cardinals will face No. 2 Hawaii and No. 5 Pepperdine in addition to King.
“There aren’t going to be any easy matches in Hawaii,” Walton said. “I hope our guys look at those as opportunities — a chance to step on the court and prove that we’re better than what we’ve shown this year.”
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