FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The 11th ranked Ball State men's volleyball team returned to Indiana to face MIVA foe Fort Wayne after four matches in California. The Cardinals were able to avoid an upset by taking down the Mastodons Wednesday evening, 3-2 (21-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 15-10).
Ball State totaled 58 kills for a .263 hitting percentage. The Cardinals also had 52 assists, 46 digs, 14.5 team blocks and eight service aces on the night.
Two Cardinals finished the night with double digit kills. Matt Szews led the team with 16 while Matt Walsh had 11. Szews had a .278 hitting percentage, eight digs, two blocks and two service aces in the contest. Walsh hit for .476 while adding nine blocks, two digs and one assist. Other Ball State players with notable kills were Mitch Weiler with nine, Parker Swartz and David Siebum with five, Ben Chinnici with six, Jake Romano with four and Blake Reardon with two. Romano also added eight digs with Weiler and Chinnici tallying seven apiece. Weiler also had six block assists.
The opening set had four tied scores and three lead changes before the Mastodons took the set, 25-21. Szews and Walsh each had three kills in the set while Reardon and Weiler added two. Swartz, Romano and Siebum each were able to knock down one kill in the first set. Weiler led the team in digs with three in set one. Romano had eight assists in the first set.
Ball State scored the first point of set number two and never trailed in that set. Fort Wayne was forced to call a timeout when the score was 6-1 and again at 11-2. The Cardinals eventually took the set, 25-22. Szews led the team with four kills and four digs. Weiler added three kills and three digs in the set. Ball State finished the set with 11 kills on 11 assists along 15 digs and five blocks.
In the third set, Ball State hit for .350 but Fort Wayne hit for an impressive .708. The Cardinals only had 10 kills compared to the Mastodons' 19. Walsh had four of those kills with two added Siebum and one added by Chinnici, Weiler and Swartz. Romano had all nine of the Cardinals' assists. The Mastodons took the set, 25-21.
The Cardinals held Fort Wayne to only eight kills on 34 attempts in the fourth set. Ball State had 14 kills in that set with four from Chinnici and Szews. Weiler and Romano had two kills apiece with one added by Swartz. Chinnici. Szews and Adam Wessel were all able to record four digs apiece in the set. Weiler and Walsh each had three block assists. Ball State was too much for Fort Wayne in that set, winning 25-22.
The Cardinals continued that momentum into the fifth set, scoring the first three points of the set. Ball State had 10 kills for a .539 hitting percentage in the deciding set. Szews led the way with four kills with two added by Swartz. Weiler, Romano and Walsh were each able to knock down one apiece. Romano also had seven of Ball State's nine assists. The team had six digs and five blocks in the final set.
The Ball State men's volleyball team now moves to 12-9 on the season with a record of 5-2 in the MIVA. The Cardinals will take on Fort Wayne again on Saturday, March 17 in Muncie. Match time is set for 7:30 p.m.