Coming into last night’s match with #7 Ohio State, the team kills leader for Ball State was outside attacker Matt Szews. For whatever reason though, Szews playing time was limited in a five-set loss to the Buckeyes as he appeared in just three of the five sets as a rotational piece.
Last night, Szews totaled five kills in three sets on a .059 hitting percentage to pair with four digs and one block in his limited action.
In talking with the team, VolleyMob was told that in preparation for the match, Ball State prioritized passing off the Buckeyes’s strong serve. They trained with two line-ups – the normal crew and a second line-up with Blake Reardon moving from left to right and taking out Szews. That gave the Cardinals three passing outsides on the court, but after the second game didn’t go well, they switched back to their normal lineup.
Prior to the match beginning, Szews had 101 kills (2.81 per set), but was hitting just .162. He was also notching 1.19 digs per set and 0.69 blocks per set. Compare that to 2017, when the then 6’8″ freshman logged 3.37 kills per set, 1.60 digs per set and 0.62 blocks per set on a .237 mark.
Even though the Cardinals fell to Ohio State in five sets last night and Szews was limited, it was an impressive start to MIVA play for Ball State. Following a 5-5 non-conference slate, they impressed in a loss on the road as they look to reboot in league action. That will continue on Saturday as they stay on the road to take on McKendree before they host Lewis in the home conference opener next Friday.