MUNCIE, Ind. - - The Ball State men's volleyball team picked up its second consecutive win with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 28-26) sweep of Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association rival Quincy Saturday evening at Worthen Arena.
With the victory, the Cardinals climb to 7-4 on the year, including a 1-2 mark in MIVA play. The Hawks suffer just their second loss of the season, falling to 10-2 (0-1 MIVA).
BSU carried over its solid blocking from Thursday's match, finishing the day with 10.5 team blocks, compared to 3.5 for Quincy.
Sophomore middle attacker Kevin Owens (Fishers, Ind./Cathedral) took control of the net early and finished with a match-high five total blocks, including a thunderous solo stuff in the second set.
Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Matt Leske (Highwood, Ill./Highland Park) and junior outside attacker Larry Wrather (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forest H.S.) each added four total blocks, with both scoring a solo block and three block assists.
Wrather would go on to pace the Cardinals offense with eight kills and the defense with 12 digs, plus he served up a match-winning ace. Leske tagged six kills on the night, while Owens added five.
In guiding the Ball State offense to a .258 (40-17-89) hitting mark, sophomore setter Graham McIlvaine (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central) handed out 29 assists. He also tied a career-high with six kills in a perfect effort (6-0-6) from the attack line.
Quincy's Joe Ascher was the lone player with double-digit kills, placing 10 on BSU's side of the court. He also collected a team-high seven digs.
The Ball State defense kept the Hawks' offense in check much of the night, limiting them to a .093 (29-20-97) hitting mark, including a -.024 (10-11-41) effort in the second set. BSU also held a commanding 45-29 edge in digs, while serving up three aces to Quincy's none.
The Cardinals scored three of the first four points in the opening set thanks to two service errors and an Owens smash. From there, BSU pulled ahead 18-12 on back-to-back Witmer blasts. A kill from Leske gave BSU set-point, while an Owens kill followed to end the frame 25-18.
Quincy took its first lead of the match at the 7-6 mark of the second set, but the Cardinals responded with six of the next seven points to regain control. BSU took a seven-point lead at the 19-12 mark off a block from Wrather and Leske, before winning the set 25-17 when Owens and redshirt junior right side attacker Jamion Hartley (North Chicago, Ill./North Chicago)combined for another.
The Hawks pulled out to a 14-11 lead in the third frame, only to see BSU answer with the next three points to tie the score. From there, the team's slugged it out to a 26-26 stalemate, with both missing on a chance to close out the frame. Wrather would take control from there, blasting a kill and serving up an ace to end the set at 28-26 and the match at 3-0.
The Ball State men's volleyball team returns to action Friday, when it travels to Columbus, Ohio, to battle defending national champions Ohio State in a 7 p.m. first serve.