MUNCIE, Ind. – The No. 13 Ball State men’s volleyball team will host Belmont Abbey and King, of the Conference Carolinas, this Friday, Mar. 7 and Saturday, Mar. 8 at Worthen Arena. Ball State is in the midst of its nine-match home stand and will host three more matches during Ball State’s spring break.
Scouting Ball State
The Cardinals (10-5, 4-2 MIVA) picked up three wins last weekend against then-No. 13 Ohio State, Barton and Mount Olive. Several players were able to see time in the matches against Barton and Mount Olive, earning career and season-highs in the process. Freshman outside hitter Brendan Surane registered a career-high 10 assists while sophomore setter Hiago Garchet dished out 23 assists against Barton.
No. 13 Ball State leads the MIVA and the nation in blocks per set so far on the year with a 2.97 average. The Cardinals finished the 2013 season with the best blocking statistics in the nation. Senior middle hitter Matt Leske is first in the conference and fourth in the country with his 1.40 blocks per set average.
Sophomore outside hitter Marcin Niemczewski is third in the MIVA and 20th nationally with his 3.57 kills per set average while senior middle attacker Kevin Owens’ .333 hitting percentage ranks 10th in the league and 23rd nationally. Junior libero David Ryan Vander Meer has a 2.15 digs per set average which is fifth in the MIVA and 24th nationally.
Scouting Belmont Abbey
The Crusaders (2-14, 1-9 CC) are riding a six-match losing streak coming into Worthen Arena after dropping a 3-0 match to Emmanuel on Tuesday, Mar. 4. Belmont Abbey is 0-6 on the road this season and is managing a .107 clip.
The offense is led by Spencer Fournell with 107 kills on the season for a 2.14 kills per set average. Setter Derek Sullivan has tallied 383 assists on the year for a 7.23 assists per set average. Johnny Gomez has a 2.98 digs per set average after picking up 158 digs on the year.
Series with Belmont Abbey
Friday’s match will mark the second time in history these two programs have met. Ball State took a 3-0 win at Belmont Abbey last season on Mar. 15, 2013.
The Tornadoes (7-10, 3-6 CC) have dropped its last three matches coming into a weekend where King will face No. 13 Ball State and No. 15 IPFW. King is 2-6 on the road this season.
Nick Serowski and Eddie Moushikhian lead the offense with 204 and 199 kills each with averages of 3.34 and 3.26 kills per set. The setting is split up between Jeff Bosslet and Matthew DeLong with 281 and 254 assists each. Mason Casner, Matthew Lychock and Adrian Lopez have blocks per set averages of 0.88, 0.83 and 0.82 respectively.
Series with King
Ball State has won the previous three meetings with King, the last being a 3-0 sweep at King on Mar. 16, 2013.
Surane Earns Honorable Mention
Freshman outside hitter Brendan Surane was named an Honorable Mention for Off the Block/Springbak, Inc., National Freshman of the Week on Monday, Mar. 3. Surane registered a career-high 10 kills in Ball State’s 3-0 sweep of Barton on Friday, Feb. 28. The freshman tied his career-high for blocks in that match with two after picking up a solo block and assisting on another. Surane hit .261 for the match (10-4-23) coming off the bench for the Cardinals.
The victory over No. 13 Ohio State on Wednesday, Feb. 26 was the first time Ball State had won in St. John Arena since a 3-0 sweep of the Buckeyes back on April 7, 2006.
Shane’s Career High
Junior outside attacker Shane Witmer registered a career-high 17 kills against No. 13 Ohio State on Wednesday, Feb. 26. The junior finished the night with a blistering .406 attack percentage (17-4-32).
Matt and Marcin Host the Block Party
Senior middle attacker Matt Leske and sophomore outside attacker Marcin Niemczewski teamed up quite a bit against the Buckeyes on Wednesday, Feb. 26. The two combined for 20 total blocks with both picking up solo blocks while Leske had 10 assisted blocks and Niemczewski added eight. Ball State out-blocked Ohio State 17-8 in total team blocks on the night.
Head coach Joel Walton is eight wins away from registering his 300th career win at Ball State. Walton has tallied a 292-159 mark in his 15 seasons at the helm of the Cardinals.