Team Efforts Lifts Ball State To Sweep Of Princeton

PRINCETON, N.J. - - Ball State men's volleyball used a complete team effort, with 12 different players recording at least one kill, to score a 3-0 (25-18, 25-14, 25-16) sweep of Princeton (1-12) Saturday evening at Dillon Gym.

   In addition to 12 different Cardinals posting at least one kill, the Ball State offense connected for a season-best .477 (40-9-65) hitting percentage, with four hitters finishing the night with perfect marks.

   Senior middle attacker J.D. Gasparovic (St. Louis, Mo./Oakville H.S.) was one of three BSU players to record a team-high five kills. He also turned in the best hitting effort, connecting for kills on all five swings he took, while earning a match-best four block assists.

   Also collecting five kills for Ball State were outside attackers senior Lee Meyer (Cincinnati, Ohio/Moeller H.S.) and sophomore Larry Wrather (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forrest H.S.). Meyer hit .571 (5-1-7) in the contest, while Wrather hit for a .444 (5-1-9) rate of success and added three total blocks.

   Sophomore Dan Wichmann (Arlington, Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) set the first two games for BSU, while freshman Graham McIlvaine (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central) guided the offense in the final set.

   In the back court, redshirt freshman libero Tommy Rouse (Carmel, Ind./Cathedral H.S.) and Wichmann tied for team-high honors with four digs each.

   On defense, Ball State limited the Tigers attack to a .176 (30-18-68) hitting mark, and held a 15 to 13 edge in digs and a nine to three lead in team blocks.

   Jeff Stapleton, Davis Waddell and Michael Dye tied for match-high honors with seven kills apiece for Princeton. Stapleton also led the team with four digs.

   Gasparovic got the Cardinals rolling early with a back-to-back kills and a block, as BSU built a 4-1 lead in the opening set. The advantage was short-lived, however, as Princeton responded with a 5-2 run to tie the score at six. Four Tigers errors over the next six rallies helped Ball State gain control of the set at 11-7. From there, the Cardinals cruised to a 25-18 opening-set win capped by a kill from redshirt sophomore opposite attacker Jamion Hartley (North Chicago, Ill./North Chicago H.S.).

   Two Princeton service errors and a Meyer kill helped BSU pull ahead 3-1 in the second game. A Dye kill on the next play brought the Tigers within one, but Ball State scored five of the next six points pulling ahead 8-3. The Cardinals dominated play from there, winning the set 25-14 on another Meyer smash.

   Ball State scored five of the first six points in the third game and never looked back, winning 25-16. A kill from redshirt freshman middle attacker Derek Menendez (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley H.S.) gave BSU match-point at 24-16, while a Princeton attack error ended the contest.

   The Ball State men's volleyball team returns to the road next week for a pair of non-conference matches, when it visits Penn State (Friday, 7 p.m.) and St. Francis (Saturday, 7 p.m.).

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