MUNCIE, Ind. - - Freshmen Matt Leske (Highwood, Ill./Highland Park H.S.) and Greg Herceg (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Ignatius H.S.) each collected career-high kill totals to help lead the No. 15 Ball State men’s volleyball team to a 3-0 (30-15, 30-24, 30-19) victory over King College Friday night at Worthen Arena.
Leske finished the night with seven kills, while Herceg added five to help the Cardinals improve to 16-9 on the year. The victory also snapped the Tornado’s 11-match winning streak and dropped the guests to 13-6 this season.
In all, 11 different Ball State players scored at least one kill in the match, paced by a match-high eight markers from junior Lee Meyer (Cincinnati, Ohio/Moeller H.S.). Fellow junior J.D. Gasparovic (St. Louis, Mo./Oakville H.S.) added seven kills in the win.
Overall, the Cardinals finished the night with a season-high .356 (45-14-87) attack percentage, marking the fourth time in the last eight matches BSU has hit above .300. On the defensive end, the Cardinals recorded 14 team blocks, including a match-best eight block assists from Leske, to limit King College to a -.022 (28-30-92) rate of success, which is the lowest mark for a Ball State opponent this season.
In addition to Leske’s match-high eight blocks, Gasparovic added five in the contest. In the back court, BSU senior libero Billy Ebel (Lenexa, Kan./Bishop Miege H.S.) and Meyer tied for team-high honors with six digs apiece.
The Tornado offense was paced by Brandon Rorer’s seven kills, while three other players added five apiece. James Friddle added a team-high eight digs for the guests.
Three quick kills and a service ace from Meyer helped the Cardinals pull out to a 5-2 edge in the opening game. Moments later, Leske sparked a 4-0 BSU run pushing the lead to 11-4. With Ball State maintaining a 14-8 edge, the Shorewood High School duo of seniors Eric Schulte (Shorewood, Wis./Shorewood H.S.) and Ethan Pheister (Shorewood, Wis./Shorewood H.S.) went to work, collecting a kill and ace, respectively, to help force King’s first timeout a 17-8.
The Cardinals would take their first 10-point lead at 23-13 on a Tornado attack error, before winning the game 30-15 on a block assist from Schulte and Gasparovic. Ball State hit .357 (14-4-28) in the opening frame, while limiting King to a -.179 (7-12-28) mark.
The Tornado scored the first point of game two, only to see a Gasparovic kill and two Meyer aces help the Cardinals pull out to a 5-1 edge. Herceg also added a kill in the run. With Ball State leading 7-2, a kill and block from Eric Glenn, followed by a Rorer service ace, helped the guests pull back within two at 7-5.
Two points would be as close as the guest got, however, as kills from Leske and Herceg pushed the advantage back to four at 10-6. Several rallies later, a Gasparovic smash sparked another 4-0 run from the Cardinals, extending the lead to 15-8.
Three straight over pass kills from Matt Sprague (Ballwin, Mo./Marquette H.S.) led to BSU’s first 10-point lead at 20-10. After a KC timeout, however, the guests rallied off seven of the next eight points to pull within four at 21-17. Glenn scored a solo block in the run, while Friddle, Rorer and Michael Koebel each pounded a kill.
After a minute break called by the Cardinals, two kills from Herceg and one from Leske helped push the lead back to seven at 25-18. Ball State went on to win the game 30-24 on a King attack error. Ball State’s offense continued to play strong in the second game, going for a .351 (19-6-37) rate of success. King finished the set with a .086 (10-7-35) attack percentage.
A Gasparovic kill and a Dominic Spadavecchio (Palatine, Ill./William Fremd H.S.) ace helped the Cardinals pull out to an early 5-1 lead in the third game. A Sprague kill and a BSU triple block extended the lead to 7-2 three rallies later, while two KC errors upped the advantage to six at 12-6.
With BSU holding a four-point lead at 19-15, a Tornado service error and a Spadavecchio kill sparked an 8-0 run by the Cardinals, moving the score to 27-15. BSU also scored three blocks during the run.
Ball State went on to finish the set 30-19 on Spadavecchio’s fourth kill of the evening. In the final game, BSU hit a match-best .364 (12-4-22), while limiting King to .000 (11-11-29).
The Ball State men’s volleyball team returns to action Saturday, when it hosts Saint Francis in its non-conference match of the 2010 season. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m. at Worthen Arena.