NEWARK, N.J. – The Ball State men’s volleyball team won a 3-1 (29-27, 28-26, 20-25, 25-16) match against New Jersey Institute of Technology Friday evening. The Cardinals were led by senior outside attacker Greg Herceg who connected on a match-high 20 kills.
With the win the Cardinals improve to 2-0 on the season, while the Highlanders fall to 0-2. The Cardinals now lead the all-time series 6-0. The squads had not faced off since the 2008 season when Ball State took a 3-1 win at Worthen Arena.
Herceg once again led the Cardinals offensively, hitting at .256 (20-9-43) to go with his two service aces and seven digs. Junior middle blocker Kevin Owens notched 11 kills to go with a .250 clip (11-5-24). Owens also had five assisted blocks and a solo block.
Junior setter Graham McIlvaine had a match-high 51 assists to go with 10 digs for his first double-double of the season. McIlvaine also registered two solo blocks as well as two assisted blocks. Senior libero Tommy Rouse led the Cardinals with 15 digs, while sophomore outside attacker Urim Demirovski added 12 digs. Senior middle attacker Matt Leske had two solo blocks, four assisted blocks and five kills.
The Cardinals outhit the Highlanders .209 to .090 and held the advantage in several other statistical categories like kills (59-37), digs (59-48), and total blocks (14-10).
The Cardinals jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the first set. NJIT would battle back, knotting the score at 12-all before taking the lead later on in the set. Ball State withstood two set points, and took the set off a NJIT attack error and a Herceg kill.
The second set saw NJIT jump out to a 12-6 lead. The Highlanders maintained the lead throughout the set, but the Cardinals benefitted from poor NJIT attacking to tie the score late in the match six times. Owens served the last two points for the Cardinals to take the set, with Herceg delivering the set-ending kill.
The Highlanders scored the first four points of the third set, before the Cardinals went on a 7-3 run to tie the set at 7-all. Errors by the Cardinals allowed the Highlanders to jump out to an 18-13 lead. Ball State would never get closer than four for the remainder of the set. The Cardinals would go on to dominate the fourth set, leading the entire time.
Ball State is next in action Saturday, Jan. 19 against Sacred Heart. The first serve is set for 7 p.m. You can follow the team on Twitter at @BallStateMVB or you can like “Ball State Men’s Volleyball” on Facebook. As always, ballstatesports.com is the official website of Ball State Athletics.