No. 13 Men's Volleyball Hosts Lees-McRae and Harvard
MUNCIE, Ind. – The No. 13 Ball State men’s volleyball team welcomes Lees-McRae and Harvard to Worthen Arena this Saturday, Mar. 15 and Sunday, Mar. 16. The Cardinals are riding a six-match winning streak after defeating conference foe No. 12 IPFW on Tuesday, Mar. 11 in Worthen Arena. The match against Lees-McRae will begin at 7:30 p.m. while the first serve against Harvard is set for 4 p.m.
Scouting Ball State
The Cardinals (13-5, 5-2 MIVA) are on a six-match winning streak after picking up a crucial MIVA win against I-69 rival IPFW on Tuesday, 3-1. Ball State has only dropped two sets in its last 20 sets played.
Senior middle attacker Matt Leske heads up the Ball State blocking unit that is ranked first in the MIVA and third in the nation at 2.95 blocks per set. Leske leads the conference and is fourth in the country with his 1.43 blocks per set while his counterpart Kevin Owens is fourth in the league with 1.02 blocks per set.
Sophomore outside attacker Marcin Niemczewski continues to lead the Cardinals offensively and ranks fourth in the MIVA with 3.52 kills per set. Junior libero David Ryan Vander Meer has a 2.32 digs per set average for fifth-place in the MIVA.
The Bobcats (12-7, 4-4 CC) are on a two-match skid heading into weekend contests against No. 12 IPFW and No. 13 Ball State. Brady Markle and Matt Harpenau head up the offensive production with 3.90 and 3.64 kills per set, respectively. Lees-McRae has out-blocked its opponents this season by a mark of 2.43 blocks per set to 1.88 blocks per set.
Series with Lees-McRae
Saturday’s match marks only the second meeting between these two programs. Lees-McRae won a five-set match back on Apr. 27, 2011 that saw Ball State middle attacker Anders Nelson pick up 14 kills off a match-best .458 hitting percentage (14-3-24).
The Crimson (10-5, 7-2 EIVA) are on a two-match winning streak after picking up a conference win at Princeton before sweeping Marymount (Va.). Harvard is receiving votes in this week’s AVCA Division I-II Men’s Coaches Top 15 Poll. DJ White and Casey White each have over 100 kills on the season with 3.00 and 2.36 kills per set, respectively. Caleb Zimmick picks up 1.06 blocks per set while Chris Gibbons nabs 2.49 digs per set.
Series with Harvard
Sunday’s match will mark the first-ever meeting between the two programs. Ball State holds a 3-2 mark against the EIVA this season.
Surane Earns Honorable Mention Twice
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 and Monday, Mar. 10. The freshman has 39 kills on the season for a .286 hitting percentage. Surane registered a career high in kills (12) and digs(7) against Belmont Abbey.
The victory over No. 12 IPFW on Tuesday marked the first time Ball State has completed the regular season sweep of its I-69 rival since the 2011 season.
Head coach Joel Walton is three wins away from registering his 300th career win at Ball State. Walton has tallied a 297-159 mark in his 15 seasons at the helm of the Cardinals.