Fort Wayne 3, UC Irvine 2
IRVINE, Calif. – Behind double-digit kills from four Mastodons on Wednesday (March 7), the Fort Wayne men's volleyball team defeated the No. 3 UC Irvine Anteaters on Crawford Court. This is the first time the Mastodons have beaten a top-five team since Fort Wayne beat Pepperdine in the 2007 NCAA Tournament semifinal.
Fort Wayne jumped out to a quick 10-5 lead on the Anteaters in the opening set after a 6-2 run. The offense started spread across four different offensive players, and stayed that way through the rest of the match. Four Mastodons had at least two kills in the opening set, and they hit .393 as a team. Four straight points behind Colton Stone's serve, including an ace, pushed the lead to 16-12. The 'Dons finished the set on a 6-1 run, and Austin Neace's ace gave Fort Wayne the early lead.
UCI started the second set with a 9-4 lead, but the 'Dons answered with a 7-2 run after a timeout to even the score. Irvine then scored six straight, which was the largest lead of the set. Pelegrin Vargas had five kills in the second set.
Despite hitting .069 in the third set, Fort Wayne took a 2-1 lead after three. UC Irvine led 13-8, but the Mastodons went on a 10-4 run to take an 18-17 lead after a triple block. Stone and Tony Price earned the kills that ended the set. UCI hit .316 and blocked 8.5 balls, but it was not enough to take the set.
With only three hitting errors in the fourth set, UC Irvine hit .400 to overcome Fort Wayne's .323 hitting. Vargas had five kills and Price had four. The 'Dons were within one at 23-22, but UCI took two of the last three points.
The final set of the night was heavily in the Mastodons' favor, as the 'Dons took a 6-4 lead after Stone had two aces in a row. Irvine took two straight points after a timeout to move the score to 11-9, but the Mastodons took the final four points. Stone and Richie Diedrich got the block that ended the match. The 'Dons held the Anteaters to -.167 in the final frame, allowing just two kills and forcing four errors.
UC Irvine had 22.5 blocks, which is the most in Division I this season.
Stone had 17 kills, followed by Vargas' 16, while Price and Tomas Gago had 13 and 11 respectively. Price led in digs with nine, followed by Stone and Kolbie Knorr, who both had eight. Diedrich had five blocks. Fort Wayne had seven more aces than UCI, totaling eight, three of which came from Stone.
Fort Wayne improves to 14-4 after its first win this season over a ranked team. The Mastodons are on a five-match winning streak. UC Irvine falls to 11-5. The Blue and White take on No. 14 UC Santa Barbara and No. 14 Concordia Irvine on Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m. EST.
Ball State 3, Concordia Irvine 1
IRVINE, Calif. – The 10th ranked Ball State men's volleyball team won its sixth straight match Wednesday night with a 3-1 (22-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-20) victory over Concordia Irvine.
The Cardinals totaled 57 kills on 55 assists for a .276 hitting percentage. Ball State also added 54 kills, 19 block assists, three service aces and two solo blocks.
Matt Szews, Matt Walsh and Mitch Weiler were the three Cardinals that tallied double digit kills. Szews led the way with a double-double, posting a team-high 14 kills and 12 digs. Walsh added 12 kills for a team-leading hitting percentage of .524. Walsh also led the team in blocks with six block assists and two solo blocks. Weiler finished the night with 10 kills and seven digs. Jake Romano had 49 assists, seven digs and two kills.
The opening set saw 15 tied scores and five lead changes before a Ball State attack error secured the win for the Eagles, 25-22. The Cardinals had 15 kills for a .314 hitting percentage. Walsh led the way in set number one with five kills. Szews added four kills while Blake Reardon, Parker Swartz and Weiler knocked down two apiece. Weiler led the team in digs with three. Romano had 13 assists in the first set.
Ball State came out to score the first two points of set number two. The Cardinals continued to pull ahead before a Concordia Irvine timeout with a score of 7-2. The Eagles were able to score two points following the timeout, but just could not do enough to get past the Cardinals. Concordia Irvine used their second timeout when the score reached 23-18. Ball State was able to take the second set, 25-19, on a Szews kill. Reardon led the set with five kills and a .375 hitting percentage. Szews notched four kills with three more added by Weiler. Szews led the way in digs with seven. Reardon and Nick LaVanchy each added three digs apiece.
The Cardinals continued momentum into the third set. Ball State held the Eagles to only nine kills and a .056 hitting percentage. Walsh had four of the Cardinals' 13 kills along with four blocks. Ben Chinnici added three kills in the set. Romano led the team in digs with four and added 11 assists. The Cardinals were able to take the set, 25-19.
Set number four had eight tied scores and five lead changes. A kill by Weiler secured the fourth set win for Ball State, 25-20. Weiler had four kills in the final set along with four kills from Szews. Walsh had three kills and Chinnici had two. The Cardinals finished the fourth set with 14 kills, 14 assists, 16 digs and 3.5 total team blocks.
The Ball State men's volleyball team moves to 11-7 on the season and will look to continue their six game match streak tomorrow, March 8. The Cardinals will play in match number three of their Spring Break trip with a matchup at UC-Irvine at 10 p.m. Eastern Time.