LORETTO, Pa. – The Ball State men’s volleyball team dropped a tough 3-1 match (30-28, 23-25, 25-16, 25-23) to the Saint Francis Red Flash on Friday evening. The Cardinals were led by sophomore Marcin Niemczewski who registered a career-high 18 kills.
The Cardinals fall to 1-2 on the season while the Red Flash begin its 2014 campaign 1-0.
Niemczewski, coming off a career night against Sacred Heart, led the Ball State offense with a career-high 18 kills. The sophomore finished the night with a .219 hitting percentage (18-11-32).
Senior Larry Wrather finished with eight digs for the Cardinals to go with six digs. Classmate Kevin Owens registered six kills while Graham McIlvaine and Matt Leske each had five. McIlvaine had a .571 clip (5-1-7) to go with 39 assists, six digs and two assisted blocks. Leske managed a .400 attack percentage (5-1-10) and four assisted blocks.
Junior Shane Witmer passed 31 balls with one reception error and picked up a team-high eight digs. Wrather received 30 passes with one error. Freshman Mike Scannell came in off the bench and earned his first collegiate kill.
Saint Francis was led by a trio that all registered double-digit kills – Logan Patterson (17), Kyle Beatty (13) and Mark Kochan (12). Setter Mike Kresch had 50 assists to go with a solo block and five assisted blocks.
The service line proved to be a trick spot for both squads as they combined for a total of 40 service errors. The Red Flash held the advantage in total team blocks 9.0 – 6.5 Saint Francis finished the night with a .433 attack percentage (60-15-104) while Ball State ended with a .226 clip (48-24-106).
Ball State is back in action on Saturday as it travels to State College, Pa., to take on Penn State at 4 p.m.