No. 14 Ball State Sweeps Pfeiffer

No. 14 Ball State Sweeps Pfeiffer
   MUNCIE, Ind. - - Behind a complete team efforts, with all 14 available players seeing action, the 14th-ranked Ball State (4-3) men's volleyball team scored a 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-22) win over visiting Pfeiffer (3-2) Friday evening at Worthen Arena.

   In the first match of the day, Limestone (4-2) turned in a dominating 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-14) victory over Mt. St. Joseph (1-4).

   "It was really nice that our guys came out focused tonight," said Ball State head coach Joel Walton. "We were able to work a lot of different people into the match, which is nice to be able to do on Parents' Weekend. It is great to be able to give out parents the opportunity to see their son's represent Ball State."

   BSU's right sides led the offense tonight, with sophomore Greg Herceg (Lakewood, Ill./St. Ignatius H.S.) and redshirt sophomore Jamion Hartley (North Chicago, Ill./North Chicago H.S.) collecting six kills apiece.

   For the match, all 11 of BSU's attackers and both setters recorded at least one kill. BSU freshman libero Tommy Rouse (Carmel, Ind./Cathedral H.S.) led the team with four digs.

   "Our depth  does a couple of things for us," added Walton. "If we get into a match where we need help, I know I can go to the bench and bring someone in to help pick us up. It also means all of our players our being pushed in practice."

   For the match, Ball State's offense exploded for  a season-best .443 (39-8-70) rate of success, including a .545 (14-2-22) mark in the second set. BSU's defense limited the Pfeiffer attack to a .172 (26-16-58) mark, while posting nine team blocks.

   Drew Burdette led the Falcons' attack with eight kills, while Michael McLaughlin added six. Pfeiffer setter Evan Fullerton collected a match-best six digs, while handing out 21 assists.

    Ball State opened up an early 5-2 lead in the first set thanks in part to a pair of block assists from senior middle attacker J.D. Gasparovic (St. Louis, Mo./Oakville H.S.). A pair of service aces from redshirt junior Dominic Spadavecchio (Palatine, Ill./William Fremd H.S.) helped extend the lead to seven points at 11-4. From there, the Cardinals went on to win the set 25-14 on an ace from freshman setter Graham McIlvaine (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central H.S.).

   The teams played to a 3-3 tie to open the second set, before a pair of aces from Herceg helped BSU rattle off the next six points. Ball State reached its first 10-point lead at the 15-5 mark on a kill from senior outside attacker Marcus Imwalle (Maria Stein, Ohio/Marion Local H.S.). BSU went on to win the frame 25-12 on a blast from freshman outside attacker Urim Demirovski (Burbank, Ill./Reavis H.S.).

   The third set was the closest of the night, with the teams playing to a 15-15 stalemate. A kill from freshman middle attacker Kevin Owens (Fishers, Ind./Cathedral H.S.) and a Falcons error helped BSU break the tie and take a 17-15 lead. An ace from Demirovski pushed the edge to three at 19-16, while a kill from Hartley kept the three-point lead alive at 21-18.

   Moments later, a Pfeiffer service ace gave the Cardinals match point at 24-21. Ball State ended the set two rallies later at 25-22 on another Hartley blast.

   The No. 14 Ball State men's volleyball team returns to action Saturday evening, when it hosts Limestone at 7:30 p.m. Prior to BSU's contest, Pfeiffer will battle Mt. St. Joseph at 5:30 p.m.