MUNCIE, Ind. - The No. 14 Ball State men’s volleyball team hosts Barton and Mount Olive at home this weekend to begin its nine-match home stand. The Cardinals are coming off a 3-1 win over the No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes on Wednesday evening. The matches will be on Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, Mar. 1 both at 7:30 p.m. at Worthen Arena.
Scouting Ball State
The Cardinals (8-5, 4-2 MIVA) are coming off a 3-1 conference win against No. 13 Ohio State on Thursday evening in Columbus, Ohio. The win marked the first time Ball State has won at St. John Arena since the 2006 season. The Cardinals dominated the block with 17 total team blocks to the Buckeyes’ eight. Junior outside attacker Shane Witmer registered a career-high 17 kills of a .406 hitting percentage (17-4-32).
Sophomore Marcin Niemczewski added 18 kills on the night to go with a career-best nine total blocks. Juniors David Ryan Vander Meer and Matt Sutherland each got under 10 digs while Vander Meer added a career-high five assists and Sutherland added eight kills.
The Bulldogs (6-9, 3-6 CC) have won three out of their last four matches, dropping a 3-2 decision to Quincy on Feb. 21. The offense is headed up by Zach McCalla with 211 kills on the season for a 3.40 kills per set average. Ladislav Lelkes has 29 solo blocks on the season for a 0.97 blocks per set average. Setter Frederico Pagliara has dished out 533 assists for a 8.60 assists per set average while libero Michael McMahon has gotten under 210 digs for a 3.39 digs per set average.
Series with Barton
Friday’s match will mark the second time in history these two programs have met. Ball State took a 3-0 win at Barton last season on Jan. 26, 2013.
Scouting Mount Olive
The Trojans (7-7, 6-3 CC) are riding a three-match winning streak after picking up victories over Limeston (3-1), Erskine (3-2) and Belmont Abbey (3-0). Mount Olive is in second place in the Conference Carolinas behind Erskine.
Angel Dache heads up the offense for the Trojans with 222 kills on the season for a 4.35 kills per set average. Libero Josh Donahue has picked up a team-best 123 digs on the season for a 2.56 digs per set average.
Donahue earned Off the Block’s Men’s Volleyball Freshman of the Week Honorable Mention on Jan. 27 while Garrett Dimm earned the same distinction on Feb. 12.
Series with Mount Olive
Ball State and Mount Olive have met two previous times prior to Saturday’s match with the Cardinals coming out victorious in both. The squads met last season at Mount Olive with Ball State picking up a 3-1 win on Jan. 25, 2013.
The victory over No. 13 Ohio State on Wednesday, Feb. 26 was the first time Ball State had won in St. John Arena since a 3-0 sweep of the Buckeyes back on April 7, 2006.
Shane’s Career High
Junior outside attacker Shane Witmer registered a career-high 17 kills against No. 13 Ohio State on Wednesday, Feb. 26. The junior finished the night with a blistering .406 attack percentage (17-4-32).
Matt and Marcin Host the Block Party
Senior middle attacker Matt Leske and sophomore outside attacker Marcin Niemczewski teamed up quite a bit against the Buckeyes on Wednesday, Feb. 26. The two combined for 20 total blocks with both picking up solo blocks while Leske had 10 assisted blocks and Niemczewski added eight. Ball State out-blocked Ohio State 17-8 in total team blocks on the night.