BYU to play at Ball State for first time in 25 years

A quarter of a century later and BYU will once again travel to Ball State.

The NCAA Tournament finalists BYU as part of unveiling its 2018 schedule announced Wednesday that for the first time since 1993 it will play a non-conference road match against Ball State.

This is the third time in the series history that the two teams will play at Ball State. In addition, the Cougars lead the all-time series 10-4, including most recently sweeping the Cardinals in a two-match home series in 2015.

BYU finished last season reaching the NCAA Tournament finals for the second consecutive year. Setter Leo Durkin, a finalist for the 2017 Lloy Ball Award, and All-American outside attacker Brenden Sander highlight the starters returning for the upcoming season.

The Cougars also are on a seven-match winning streak against the Cardinals dating back to 1997 and won their last road match of the series in five games.

Ball State ended the 2017 season in fourth place in the MIVA and almost upset the NCAA champions Ohio State in the conference tournament semifinals. Among the returning players for the Cardinals includes all-conference middle attacker Matt Walsh, who was named a finalist for the 2017 Ryan Millar Award.

The match against BYU on Jan. 12 will be the sixth time this decade that a West Coast team travels to play Ball State at Worthen Arena.

Ball State is 2-3 in these matches, including a five-game victory against UC Irvine in 2016 in its most recent home non-conference match versus a West Coast school.

The Cougars will open their season with four non-conference matches against MIVA teams that ended last season ranked in the national coaches poll.

BYU will play home matches versus Loyola on Jan. 5 and Lewis on Jan. 6 before traveling to the Midwest the following week to play Ball State and Ohio State.

Along with those non-conference matches, BYU will have a two-match home series against both the defending ConfCarolinas champions Barton on Jan. 19-20 and UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 2-3. It also will participate at the Outrigger Invitational in March with matches against Penn State, Lewis and the host school Hawai’i.