Ball State Sweeps IPFW in Muncie

Ball State Sweeps IPFW in Muncie

MUNCIE, Ind. – Ivan Matos recorded a game-high 20 kills, while Omar Rivera added 40 assists, but it wasn't enough Saturday evening, as the Ball State Cardinals used a strong defensive effort to win in straight sets, 3-0 over the IPFW men's volleyball team in Muncie, Ind. 

IPFW drops its second straight match and moves to 7-6 (1-2 MIVA) this season. With the home win, Ball State jumps to 8-5 overall (2-3 MIVA). The two teams will meet again on April 7 in Fort Wayne.

In a back and forth first set, IPFW took an 11-9 lead after the Cardinals committed an attack error, followed by a Matos service ace. The 'Dons maintained the advantage up to 15-14, as Matos, Phil Peterson and Bryan Saunders each earned kills to keep the visitors in front midway through the frame. Before IPFW could increase its lead, the Ball State offense regrouped after a timeout and tied the game at 20-20, leading to a Mastodon timeout. After the break, the home team mustered four of the next six points to earn set point, where Cardinal Greg Herceg sent home a kill to hand Ball State set one, 25-22.

The teams continued to trade points in the second set, as kills from Matos, Eddie Rivera and Corey Frain kept the Mastodon offense intact early on. Tied at 12-12, Ball State reeled off three-straight points from 'Don errors to take a 15-12 lead. Despite a late IPFW comeback attempt, which included three kills from Saunders, Ball State took the frame to its final play, when Cardinal Larry Wrather blasted a kill off a Graham McIlvaine pass to win set two, 25-22.

In the third set, kills from Saunders and E. Rivera moved IPFW in front 6-4, as the visitors came out of intermission spreading the ball around the frontline. Off the hands of Warther, the Cardinals marched back and took the lead at 13-12 thanks to a Kevin Owens point. Down 16-13, O. Rivera blasted a kill to ignite a Mastodon run, which took IPFW took to set point at 26-25. The 'Dons couldn't connect on following play, however, as Ball State climbed back to force extra points. When the Cardinals drew match point at 33-32, Matos went up for a game-saving kill only to be met by a crowded Ball State block tandem, forcing the attempt wide of the line to clinch the win for the home team.

Matos' 20 kills led IPFW, while Saunders managed seven and E. Rivera six. The Mastodons averaged a .208 hitting-percentage on the night against Ball State.

IPFW will rest and regroup for its next match on Feb. 24 against Loyola in Chicago, Ill. First serve is set for 8:00 p.m. EST.

~Feel the Rumble~