ROMEOVILLE, Ill. - The No. 13 Ball State men’s volleyball team dropped a 3-0 decision at the hands of No. 10 Lewis Saturday evening at the Neil Carey Arena. Ball State middle attackers Kevin Owens and Matt Leske combined for eight kills without committing an attack error.
The Cardinals drop to 7-5 on the year and 3-2 in MIVA action while the Flyers improve to 10-4 this season and 2-2 in conference play.
Sophomore Marcin Niemczewski led the Cardinals with eight kills while junior Shane Witmer added six kills and Owens chipped in five. Owens and Leske both finished with .500 attack percentage combining for eight kills of 16 attacks and no attack errors.
Senior Graham McIlvaine added 22 assists, two service aces, three digs and two assisted blocks. Witmer led the squad with six digs while Niemczewski and Vander Meer added three each. Owens and Niemczewski each registered three assisted blocks while Owens had a solo block and two assisted blocks.
Ball State was not able to withstand Lewis’ .476 attack percentage in the first set with the Flyers registering 13 kills and only three attack errors. McIlvaine was able to knock in two aces for the Cardinals and pick up two assisted blocks. Crisp hitting by the Flyers coupled with Cardinal errors gave Lewis the first set 25-14.
Lewis’ Greg Petty started from behind the service line in the second set and served up two consecutive aces to give the Flyers a slight lead early on. Ball State would then go on a four-point run off the serve of Leske to take a 6-5 lead. Lewis would benefit off errors from Ball State to take the lead back, 9-6. The Cardinals added Jack Lesure, Brendan Surane and Bobby Renaud to the mix in the second set but it was not enough as the Flyers took it 25-16. Ball State managed a .087 attack percentage in the set (9-7-23) compared to a .467 clip by Lewis (10-3-15).
The Flyers started off hot in the third set with four straight points before Niemczewski got the Cardinals on the board with a kill. Witmer had three kills to bring the Cardinals to within two points, 8-6 before the Flyers mounted a short run. The Cardinals would get within two later on in the match but were unable to surpass the Flyers as Lewis took the set 25-18.
The Flyers held the advantage in attack percentage on night at .424 (37-9-66) to .091 (27-20-77). Lewis also had 10.5 blocks to Ball State’s 6.5 blocks.
Ball State will next travel to No. 14 Ohio State for a 7 p.m. match on Wednesday, Feb. 26. Check ballstatesports.com for more news and information on Ball State men’s volleyball.