MUNCIE, Ind. – After a quick 2-0 start to the season, the Ball State University men's volleyball team couldn't keep up the momentum as it fell to No. 3 UC Irvine, 3-0, on Monday night at Worthen Arena.
The Cardinals dropped to 2-1 for the year with the loss and saw their 12-game home winning streak snapped. UC Irvine stayed perfect on the year and now owns a 3-0 record.
"We certainly had our chances tonight," said Ball State head coach Joel Walton. "A few bounces just didn't go our way and we made some errors at critical moments."
Despite the loss, the Cardinals kept things close in all statistical categories. UC Irvine had a slight edge in kills at 38-35 but BSU led in service aces and blocks with four and six, respectively. The Anteaters had the advantage in digs with 33 to BSU'S 20.
Ball State was competitive and held multiple leads through the beginning of the opening set, but Irvine went on a 3-0 run after the game was tied at nine and the Cardinals couldn't recover. The run came early for the Anteaters in set two as they jumped out to a 3-1 lead. BSU eventually tied the game but couldn't get over the hump as Irvine controlled the remainder of the set.
Game three was the most competitive for the Cardinals as they grabbed a 7-4 lead early on. UC Irvine took a timeout at that point and it paid off as it rattled off four straight points to reclaim an advantage and never trailed again.
David Siebum once again led Ball State with nine kills and was followed by Blake Reardon with eight, who saw the most playing time of his season so far. Parker Swartz was impactful in the action he saw as he hit .800 on the night. Quinn Isaacson and Nick Romano shared plays at the setter position and combined for a total of 29 assists. Matt Szews led the Cardinals in digs with five.
BSU now gears up for its first road trip of the season. The Cardinals will first travel to California Thursday night to take on No. 11 Stanford before heading to Utah where they will do battle with No. 5 Brigham Young on Saturday.