MUNCIE, Ind.– The 11th ranked Ball State Cardinals welcomed the Fort Wayne Mastodons to Muncie Tuesday night. The Cardinals defeated the Mastodons 3-0 (25-14, 25-20, 25-21), moving to 10-2 overall and 2-1 in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association.
Ball State finished the contest with 41 kills, 13 blocks and a .349 hitting percentage. Freshman Matt Szews led the way with 16 kills and a .444 hitting percentage. Junior Mitch Weiler knocked down eight kills on the day while senior Brendan Surane added seven.
"We feel very fortunate and lucky to have a player like Matt Szews on our team because we can feed the ball to him and he wants the ball," said head coach Joel Walton. "I'm glad Connor saw that Szews was ready to go and gave him a lot of opportunities tonight."
In the opening set, the first two points went to Fort Wayne. The Cardinals turned up the heat and forced the Mastodons into a timeout after making the score 10-4. Ball State continued to power over Fort Wayne, winning set one with a score of 25-14. Surane and junior Matt Walsh both knocked down three kills. A Surane kill on aConnor Gross assist won the set for Ball State. For set one, Ball State had 11 total kills and a .476 hitting percentage.
In set two, both teams tallied 13 kills, but the Cardinals came out on top with a score of 25-20. Szews led the team with five kills while Walsh had a team high two block assists. After 16 tied scores and four lead changes, Ball State took the set on a Fort Wayne attack error.
The Cardinals won the match after a 25-21 set three victory. Szews had nine of Ball State's 17 kills in the closing set. Weiler added three kills, one being the match winner.
"We came out tonight and we earned three games," added Walton. "We still have to do the same thing Friday night. We can't just walk into the gym and expect to win a match. We have to be ready to fight and we have to have more energy."
Ball State will travel to Fort Wayne for round two against the Mastodons Friday, Feb. 10. First serve is set to begin at 7 p.m.