MUNCIE, Ind. - The No. 9 seed Ball State men's volleyball team (21-5, 9-5 MIVA) swept IPFW in the MIVA Tournament Quarterfinals in front of an electric crowd on Saturday, Apr. 20 in John E. Worthen Arena. The Cardinals are now riding a 13-match winning streak, which is the longest since 1982 when Ball State won 15 in a row. Ball State has only dropped four sets in the last 43 sets played.
Ball State in National Rankings
Ball State leads the nation in digs per set with a 10.87 digs per set average. The Cardinals also rank second in the country in blocks per set with a 2.94 average. BSU is fourth in kills per set (12.91), sixth in assists per set (12.01) and seventh in aces per set (1.25).
Junior middle attacker Matt Leske is second in the country in blocks per set (1.40), while his counterpart Kevin Owens is second in the nation in hitting percentage (.409). Tommy Rouse is third in Division I-II in digs per set with his 2.90 digs per set average.
The semifinal match on Wednesday is just the sixth postseason meeting between the two and first since 2004. Loyola is 2-3 (.400) all-time against the Cardinals in postseason play. MIVA Player of the Year Joe Smalzer earned the Off the Block National Server of the Year award. Smalzer set Loyola’s career and single-season service ace records this season and leads the NCAA in aces.
Series with Loyola
Loyola leads the all-time series 23-19 including a 17-3 mark in Chicago. The Cardinals have not won in Chicago since April 17, 1999. The Cardinals took the regular season finale 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 27-25, 25-19) on Senior Night on Apr. 13, 2013.
Racking up MIVA Honors
Six members of the Ball State men’s volleyball team were honored by the MIVA. Head coach Joel Walton was named Coach of the Year for the second time in his career -- the last time he earned the nod was in the 2001 season when he guided the Cardinals to a 20-8 record. Making an all-conference team for the first time in their careers were Jamion Hartley and
Greg Herceg. Kevin Owens and Matt Leske both made the second team last season and Tommy Rouse had a nod to the first team during the 2011 campaign.
BSU in the MIVA Tournament
The Cardinals enter Wednesday’s MIVA Tournament Semifinal match with a 59-28 (.678) all-time mark in the league tournament. BSU is 17-2 in quarterfinal matches, 16-12 in semifinal action and 14-11 in championship matches. Last season the Cardinals took a 3-1 win in the quarterfinals over Grand Canyon before dropping a 3-0 semifinal match to Ohio State.