MUNCIE, Ind. - - The Ball State men's volleyball team opened a three-match home stand with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-22) sweep of Sacred Heart Wednesday evening at Worthen Arena.
"While we were able to claim the win in three, I think Sacred Heart did some nice things tonight," said Ball State head coach Joel Walton. "As a team, Sacred Heart can take you out of system because their tempo is so different, which was the biggest adjustment for us tonight. I felt we were pretty good at the end of games and made some nice runs to finish off sets."
In the win, junior outside attacker Larry Wrather (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forrest H.S.) led the Ball State (2-1) attack with nine kills and also added a match-high tying nine digs to fall just shy of a double-double. Wrather also turned in a solid effort at the net, recording three block assists including the match-winner.
In his first career start for the Cardinals, freshman outside hitter Shane Witmer (Naperville, Ill./Naperville North H.S.) also played a strong match, racking up a career-high seven kills to go along with four digs and a block assists.
Redshirt junior outside attacker Jamion Hartley (North Chicago, Ill./North Chicago H.S.) collected eight kills and two blocks in the win, while redshirt sophomore middle blocker Matt Leske (Highwood, Ill./Highland Park H.S.) led all players with five total blocks and added four kills.
Sophomore setter Graham McIlvaine (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central H.S.) guided the Ball State offense to a .266 (36-15-79) hitting mark for the night by handing out 30 assists to go along with four blocks and three kills.
Sacred Heart (0-2) was paced offensively by Nick Hunt's 17 kills. Enzo MacKenzie added 15 markers, while Adrian Fernandez tied Wrather for match-high honors with nine digs.
As a team, the Cardinals limited the SHU attack to a .153 (34-21-85) hitting effort for the match, while holding a 9-4 edge in total blocks. The Pioneers recorded a 25-22 edge in team digs.
The Ball State men's volleyball team returns to action Friday, when it hosts George Mason at 7:30 p.m. in a rematch of last Saturday's five-set thriller in Fairfax, Va.