March 26, 2011

IPFW's Arnie Ball Wins 500th Career Match in Sweep of Carthage

Fort Wayne, IN - IPFW Head Coach Arnie Ball captured win number 500 of his illustrious career as the Mastodons downed the Carthage College Red Men in a three-set sweep, 25-10, 27-25, 25-16.

The milestone lands Ball in an elite group of coaching legends that includes UCLA's Al Scates, Pepperdine's Marv Dunphy, Ohio State's Pete Hanson, UCSB's Ken Preston and Ball's own college coach, former Ball State head man Don Shondell. The win moves Ball to 500-368 (.576) all-time for his 31-year career on the IPFW sidelines.

The historic win began with an opening set rout. After hopping out to a 4-1 lead, the Mastodons piled on the pressure. A Red Men attack error pushed the match to 8-4 forcing a Carthage timeout. That whistle sparked a 10-4 IPFW run that put the opening set fully out of reach. The 'Dons would grow the lead to as many as 12 at 21-9 before closing out the set victory with a Rob Samp kill.

As a team, IPFW hit an astounding .750 percentage as the Red Men posted a .000 clip, including a stat line that never saw them score on their serve.

Set number two was a different story as the frame featured 18 tie scores and eight lead changes. After jumping out to a 6-3 lead to start the set, the Red Men powered a 4-1 rally to knot the match at seven each. From there, neither set would take larger than a one-point lead until an IPFW attack error moved the set to 19-17, Carthage.

A 4-0 run, fueled by the serve and attack of Darryl Shank, gave IPFW a brief lead at 21-19 before the match would again move to even at 23 each. Carthage took a set-point opportunity at 24-23 before Eddie Rivera's stroke squashed the set-ender. The Red Men took another set-point serve at 25-24, this time not crossing the net on a service miscue.

With the match knotted at 25, sophomore middle blocker Rob Samp fired a service ace to go to set-point and Shank landed a set-closing cross-court kill for the second win.

Shank posted kills on six of 10 attempts and Eddie Rivera tallied six on 11 attacks in the second set win.

In a tight third set, it was Shank that, again, gave his squad some breathing room, posting a kill to go up 10-7 in the early going. A three-point run by the 'Dons pushed their lead to 19-14 before closing out the three-set sweep with a 5-1 run.

The Mastodons, led by Darryl Shank's 14 kills and .565 hitting percentage, hit .456 overall as a team. Eddie Rivera posted 12 kills and a .500 hitting percentage, as well. Shank added nine digs to lead IPFW in the category.

The win pushes IPFW to 12-9 overall on the year, matching their win total from the past three seasons. Arnie Ball and the 'Dons will return to action next weekend as they host the Quincy Hawks in a weekend MIVA series Friday and Saturday (Apr. 1-2). First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center in Fort Wayne.

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