April 24, 2010 Muncie, IN - A Mastodon hitting percentage of just .137, combined with a powerfully efficient Ball State attack doomed the 'Dons, as they fell in the first round of the MIVA tournament for the third time in as many seasons, 30-28, 30-23, 30-22.
One of the few bright spots in the finale came in the accomplishments of junior libero Shaun Drdyen. The junior college transfer posted four digs in the loss, pushing his season total to 292, a new IPFW single-season record. That record was previously held by former All-American Jay Golsteyn, set in the 1988 season.
The 'Dons and Cardinals opened the match as the rivalry typically, with both teams battling neck-and-neck. Ball State built an early 14-10 lead after an IPFW attack error, but the 'Dons offense wouldn't let the match out of reach. They fought back, eventually knotting the score at 18, before powering out to a 23-19 lead with a Dan Mader service ace.
With a 26-24 lead, the IPFW offense could only watch as the veteran Ball State squad stormed back with three-straight points to nab a slim lead late at 27-26. A kill by Cardinal Eric Schulte gave the squad set-point at 29-28 and a Mastodon attack error closed the set in favor of the host Cardinals, 30-28.
That momentum carried over into the second set as well, as the Cardinals took the first point and did not once surrender the lead again. They built the early lead to six at 15-9 and continued to stack the points on an IPFW squad that managed to hit just .081, as the Cardinals convincingly closed a 30-23 victory.
The third set played out much the same, as there were just five
tie scores and one lead change. Ball State took their final lead of
the match with an early 3-2 advantage, eventually building a lead
of as many as eight at 23-15. Ball State's Lee Meyer posted
back-to-back kill to close the final set of IPFW's 2010 season,
Oliver Kook, who hit .417 in the match, led an IPFW offense that featured just two players in double-digit kills in Darryl Shank (10) and Elon Fyfield (10). Ivan Matos posted nine kills as Shank led the squad with 10 digs. Corey Frain posted a pair of solo blocks and four block assists to lead the defensive front.
In addition to Dryden's record-breaking season, Shank shouldered his way into the IPFW record books as well. The junior tallied 520 kills on the year, the ninth-best mark by a VolleyDon all-time.
The loss eliminates the 'Dons from the MIVA Tournament as the Ball State Cardinals advance to take on the top-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes.
The 12-win season is the third in as many seasons after the historic NCAA National Runner-Up finish in 2007.