MUNCIE, Ind. - - The Ball State men's volleyball team used a solid performance at the net to score a 3-1 (25-22, 25-20, 23-25, 25-13) victory over Lindenwood in non-conference action Thursday night at Worthen Arena.
The Cardinals finished the contest with 13.5 team blocks, and limited the Lions' offense to a .140 (43-26-121) attack percentage.
Sophomore setter Graham McIlvaine (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central) turned in a solid all-around effort for the Cardinals, tying for match-high honors with six total blocks. He also collected his first double-double of the season, and the fourth of his career, by handing out 34 assists and racking up a match-best 12 digs.
McIlvaine also set the Ball State offense to a .236 (51-22-123) hitting mark, including a .458 (13-2-24) effort in the final set, while blasting six kills and hitting .417 (6-1-12) himself.
Witmer would also collect career-highs of five block assists and two aces, while falling one dig shy of his second career double-double with nine.
Sophomore middle attacker Kevin Owens (Fishers, Ind./Cathedral ) added nine kills and tied McIlvaine for match-high honors with six blocks. Redshirt sophomore middle attacker Matt Leske (Highwood, Ill./Highland Park) posted five kills and five total blocks.
Jack Mitchell led the Lindenwood attack with 15 kills, while Michael Adams posted 10. Adams also collected a team-high nine digs.
In addition to holding the hitting edge, BSU out-blocked the Lions 13.5-4.0. Ball State also out-dug Lindenwood 45-40 and held a 4-0 advantage in aces.
The visitors pulled out to a 10-7 lead in the opening set, only to see BSU post the next five points to turn the tide. With the Cardinals ahead 18-14, four kills from redshirt junior right side attacker Jamion Hartley (North Chicago, Ill./North Chicago) helped give BSU set-point at 24-21. BSU ended the set at 25-22 on a kill from Wrather.
The Lions held a 14-11 lead in the second set, only to see BSU answer with another five-point run to pull ahead 16-15. Ball State extended its lead to 21-16, and went on to win the game 25-20 on a Lindenwood attack error.
For the third consecutive set, Lindenwood held a lead midway through (15-12) only to have BSU battle back and pull ahead 16-15. This time, however, the Lions responded with a small run of their own, pulling back ahead 19-17. After a Ball State timeout, the teams traded the final 12 points which allowed the Lions to win the set 25-23 on a kill from Adams.
Lindenwood opened the final set with three straight errors, giving BSU a 3-0 lead it would not relinquish. Ball State pulled ahead by eight, at 19-11, on a Leske solo block, before Owens and Witmer combined for a match-ending block assist at 25-13.
The Ball State men's volleyball team returns to action Saturday, when it hosts Quincy in a pivotal 7:30 p.m. Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association first serve at Worthen Arena.