It will still count as a 3-1 loss to Loyola-Chicago - a team it has lost to five times in the last six tries - but hope springs eternal; at least for IPFW volleyball coach Arnie Ball.
Ball leaned on the water coolers after Friday night's MIVA match at the Gates Center and talked of good news-bad news scenarios.
The bad news, of course, was that his team lost to Loyola, which is ranked ninth in the coaches' poll. The better news is that the season is young, and that Ball is certain that his team will improve with age.
It is, after all, a young team. Middle blocker Ollie Kook is the only senior who sees much court time, and freshman opposite hitter Elon Fyfield lived up to his preseason billing. Fyfield, even though there were moments when his "dink" tip shots weren't effective, still came up with 20 kills against a Loyola front wall that, at times, seemed to be blocking everything.
So the Mastodons are 2-2, with Carthage coming in Saturday night. They should win that one, then the next five matches are inside the Gates Center.
Should be interesting to see how this group improves.