ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – The No. 13 Ball State men’s volleyball team dropped a tough 3-2 (23-25, 25-17, 22-25, 25-13, 15-8) match to No. 11 Lewis in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Semifinals Saturday evening. Junior outside attacker Shane Witmer registered 12 kills while junior libero David Ryan Vander Meer got under a match-high 20 digs.
The Cardinals end the season with a 22-8 record while the Flyers improve to 23-6 on the campaign and will play No. 1 Loyola Saturday evening in the MIVA Championship match.
Witmer finished with 12 kills while sophomore outside attacker Marcin Niemczewski added eight kills. Senior middle attacker had six kills to go with six blocks. Senior setter Graham McIlvaine ended the night with four kills, 34 assists, nine digs and three blocks. Junior libero David Ryan Vander Meer got under 20 digs and it marked the third time this season the All-MIVA First Team honoree got under at least 20 digs.
The first set was back and forth with 11 ties and three lead changes. The Cardinals trailed the Flyers 18-16 heading into the first timeout of the set and scored three out of the next five to get to within one point at 20-19. A kill by Leske followed by a Lewis attack error knotted the score at 21-21 but the Flyers responded nabbing two-straight kills.
Facing a 23-21 deficit the Cardinals rallied back to score the final four points of the set to win 25-23. The comeback started with an Owens kill followed by an Owens-Witmer block to tie the set at 23-23. A block by McIlvaine and Owens set up set point with freshman outside attacker Brendan Surane back to serve. The Cardinals won the set off an error by the Flyers.
Lewis controlled the second set and benefitted from a .190 attack percentage by Ball State. The Cardinals were not able to string together a run until late in the set when it scored four-straight. It would not be enough, however, and the Flyers took a 25-17 win.
The third set saw Ball State lead the entirety of the frame. The Flyers only managed a .103 clip in the set and committed 11 attack errors. Lewis got within one point several times in the early goings, but was unable to tie the set. The Cardinals extended their lead to 18-14 when the Flyers called a timeout off a Niemczewski-Owens block. Lewis managed to score seven-straight points to tie the set at 20-20. Ball State did not allow Lewis to get any closer than one the rest of the set and took the 25-22 win.
The Flyers only committed three attack errors in the fourth set and hit .250 while the Cardinals hit negative on the set and committed 11 attack errors. The fifth set saw Lewis jump out to a 3-0 lead. Four-straight points by the Flyers off the serve of Bobby Walsh saw Lewis extend its lead to 9-4. Ball State would be unable to withstand the Lewis attack and fell 15-8 in the fifth set.
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