Muncie, IN - For the second time in as many meetings, the Ball State blockers were too much for the Mastodon attack, as their 18.5 stops stymied IPFW's momentum in four sets, 25-22, 22-25, 17-25, 13-25. The loss wraps up IPFW's MIVA conference slate at 5-7 overall.
As a team, the Mastodons hit just .031 overall as a team with just one hitter over .200 overall on the night.
IPFW was able to carry over last night's momentum from their upset of No. 14 Lewis in the opening set. Jumping out to a 15-13 lead with an Eddie Rivera kill, the Mastodons' two-point lead would dwindle to none at 19-19, warranting a whistle from Head Coach Arnie Ball.
From that point, the Mastodon squad would fight through the Cardinal charge. A kill by Darryl Shank, off the set of Dan Mader, pushed the action to set point at 24-21 and, after a Cardinal point, Ivan Matos closed out an opening set victory with a kill at 25-22.
Set number three looked like it too would be a Mastodon victory. The 'Dons took a 15-13 lead at the media timeout and continued to push their lead, growing to as many as four at 22-18. At that point in the match, the weekend of travel and emotional four-set win a night before caught up to the IPFW squad.
Trailing 22-18, the Cardinals scored the next seven points, closing out a second set, come-from-behind victory at 25-22, sending a deflated IPFW squad to the mid-set break tie at one set each.
In the third frame, the IPFW squad battled to keep the match close, trailing by just three at the media timeout, 15-12. Again though, it was all Ball State in the late stretches of the match. The Cards used a pair of three-point runs, en route to capturing 10 of the final 14 points to win the third, 25-17.
With the momentum squarely on their side, set number four was all Ball State from the start. An early 7-3 lead became seven at 14-7 and continued to grow. Unable to break through the Cardinal attack, IPFW fell in the final set, 25-13.
Ivan Matos' 14 kills and Dan Mader's 23 assists led the Mastodon offense. Matos also led the team with seven digs. As a team, IPFW was out-blocked 18.5 to 7.0 and tallied an attack percentage of .031.
The loss drops IPFW to 15-10 overall and 5-7 in the MIVA. The match is their final conference showdown of the season as they will host the St. Francis (Pa.) Red Flash next Friday (Apr. 15). First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center in Fort Wayne.