MUNCIE, Ind. – The No. 15 Ball State men’s volleyball team (5-3, 1-0 MIVA) is taking its four-match winning streak on the road to MIVA foes Quincy and Lindenwood this Friday, Feb. 14 and Saturday, Feb. 15. The Cardinals have the seventh-best blocking average in the nation at 2.88 blocks per set led by senior Matt Leske with a 1.41 blocks per set average.
Scouting Ball State
The Cardinals (5-3, 1-0 MIVA) picked up two road wins this past weekend over George Mason and Princeton. The match at Princeton turned into a thriller as Ball State was down two sets and came back to win the next three including a decisive 15-4 fifth-set win.
In the win over the Tigers, sophomore Marcin Niemczewski picked up a career-high 25 kills while maintaining a .364 hitting percentage (25-9-44). Senior Larry Wrather picked up 10 kills while junior Matt Sutherland provided a spark off the bench with nine kills. Senior setter Graham McIlvaine tallied his second double-double of the season with 47 assists and 10 digs.
Ball State is ranked seventh in the nation in blocking with a 2.88 blocks per set average. Senior Matt Leske ranks third in the MIVA and seventh in the country with 1.41 blocks per set. Against Princeton Leske had a solo block and eight assisted blocks. Marcin Niemczewski is at the top of the MIVA and is ninth in the country in kills per set at 3.86.
The Quincy Hawks (4-5, 0-2 MIVA) are back in action after taking a week off from competition. At the Lindenwood Tournament, Quincy went 1-2 picking up a win over Pfeiffer and dropping contests to Lees-McCrea and Coker. Quincy’s two losses in the MIVA this season included a sweep by Ohio State and a five-set defeat at the hands of Lindenwood.
The offense is guided by Ian Lawson who has 109 kills on the year for a 2.95 kills per set average. Quincy registers 1.58 aces per set with four players with over 10 aces each on the year. The Hawks maintain a .202 hitting percentage while their opponents have a .262 clip.
Series with Quincy
Ball State leads the all-time series with Quincy, 41-4, in a series that dates back to the 1994 season. The Cardinals have won four straight matches against the Hawks including both meetings last season. Ball State holds a 17-2 record at Quincy.
The Lindenwood Lions (8-2, 3-1 MIVA) are currently riding a seven-match winning streak after sweeping Grand Canyon last weekend. Lindenwood is currently hitting .338 while maintaining opponents to a .232 clip.
Three-time MIVA Offensive Player of the Week Colin Hackworth and Michael Adams lead the offense with 131 and 113 kills on the season. Scott Siwicki has 19 aces on the year and has helped pace the Lions for a 1.76 aces per set average. Four players average over a block per set for a team average of 2.34 blocks per set.
Series with Lindenwood
The series with Lindenwood started in the 2001 season and Ball State holds a 6-1 record in the all-time series. The Cardinals took both meetings last season including a five-set win in Worthen and a three set sweep at Lindenwood. Saturday’s match will mark the second time Ball State has traveled to St. Charles, Mo. to face the Lions.
Senior setter Graham McIlvaine moved to seventh in program history in career assists after his 49 assists performance against IPFW. Heading into this weekend, McIlvaine has 2,240 career assists. McIlvaine is 74 assists away from surpassing Jeff Robertson (1997-2000) who finished his career with 2,313 assists.
Leske Leads the Block
Senior middle attacker Matt Leske has picked up where he left off in 2013 in blocking. After finishing the year with the best blocks per set average in the nation in 2013, Leske has started off the season with a 1.41 blocks per set average in 2014. In the 3-2 win over IPFW on Jan. 31, Leske had two solo blocks and a career-high 10 assisted blocks for a career-high of 12 total blocks. In the five-set win over Princeton on Feb. 15, Leske led the way with a solo block and eight assisted blocks.
The Cardinals are on Twitter at @BallStateMVB. Be sure to use the hashtag #BSUMVB all season long to join the conversation. The team also has a Facebook account, be sure to like “Ball State Men’s Volleyball” for updates and pictures.