MUNCIE, Ind. – The No. 13 Ball State men’s volleyball team will conclude the 2014 regular season at Worthen Arena this Fri., Apr. 11 and Sat., Apr. 12 with matches against MIVA opponents Lindenwood and Quincy. The Cardinals lead the MIVA in blocks per set and digs per set with senior Matt Leske and junior David Ryan Vander Meer at the top of the league in the respective categories.
Both matches will be televised by Ball State Sports Link and will air statewide on Comcast Indiana 81. In addition, there will be a free web stream of the telecast available on BallStateSports.com.
Scouting Ball State
The Cardinals (19-7, 8-4 MIVA) picked up conference wins over Grand Canyon picking up the first sweep of the Antelopes in Phoenix since the 2009 season. Freshman outside attacker Brendan Surane picked up a career-high 17 kills in the match on Saturday that helped him an Honorable Mention to the Off the Block/Springbak Inc., Freshman of the Week award.
Ball State leads the MIVA in blocks per set (3.01) and digs per set (10.27). Senior middle attacker Matt Leske leads the nation with his 1.63 blocks per set while junior libero David Ryan Vander Meer is first in the MIVA and fifth in the country with his 2.71 digs per set average.
Ball State is hitting a .256 attack percentage for the season while holding opponents to a .191 clip. Sophomore outside attacker Marcin Niemczewski has 297 kills on the season for a 3.38 kills per set average while senior middle attackers Kevin Owens and Matt Leske, red-shirt senior outside attacker Larry Wrather and junior outside attackers Shane Witmer and Matt Sutherland have each tallied over 100 kills on the season.
Senior setter Graham McIlvaine has dished out 888 assists and has registered 30 aces, 149 digs and 64 blocks. Junior libero David Ryan Vander Meer leads the digging for the Cardinals with 260 on the season while Witmer and Niemczewski also have eclipsed 100 digs.
The Lions (19-9, 4-8 MIVA) have dropped its last three contests going into Friday night’s tilt with the Cardinals. Lindenwood is a dangerous team from behind the service line with a 1.89 aces per set average which leads the nation. Senior middle attacker Scott Siwicki leads the MIVA with his .456 hitting percentage. Junior opposite Colin Hackworth leads the Lions with his 3.68 kills per set.
Series with Lindenwood
Friday’s meeting marks the ninth times these two programs have squared off and the Cardinals hold the 7-1 series advantage. Ball State is 5-0 against Lindenwood at Worthen Arena. When the two teams last faced off on Feb. 15 a balanced approach helped the Cardinals to a 3-1 win. Larry Wrather and Marcin Niemczewski each tallied 12 kills for Ball State while Kevin Owens and Shane Witmer each added eight kills. Ball State held a 14-4 advantage in blocking on the night with Graham McIlvaine and senior middle attacker Matt Leske leading the charge with seven assisted blocks each.
The Hawks (13-16, 0-12 MIVA) are on a two-match losing streak and will play at IPFW on Friday evening before traveling down to Muncie. Sophomore opposite Jack Gamache leads the offense with his 291 kills on the season while senior outside attacker Brian Peth is third in the MIVA with his 2.29 digs per set average.
Series with Quincy
Ball State holds the 41-4 advantage in the all-time series with Quincy and has a 23-2 record in Worthen. The Cardinals earned a 3-1 win over the Hawks in the last meeting between the squads on Feb. 14. Marcin Niemczewski led the way with 12 kills while Shane Witmer tallied 10 kills. Matt Leske hit a blistering .636 clip on the night (8-1-11) and registered two aces and four blocks. Larry Wrather had nine kills and Kevin Owens added six kills. David Ryan Vander Meer got under 13 digs while Graham McIlvaine dished out 41 assists and picked up six digs.
Stuck In The Middle With You
All-American middle attackers Matt Leske and Kevin Owens are both hitting at a great rate for the season at .399 and .402, respectively. The seniors have a combined 328 kills on the year. The two also head up the blocking for the Cardinals with 242 total blocks between the two this season. Leske had at least six blocks in the last nine matches and has hit double digits in blocks three times this season.
Ball State enters this weekend’s matches in third place in the MIVA Tournament. Ball State will host the MIVA Quarterfinals at Fri., Apr. 18 at 7:30 p.m. Loyola has a firm hold on the No. 1 position, having a flawless 13-0 league mark. With the win over the Cardinals the Lewis Flyers moved to second place in the conference and have a 9-3 record in the league. IPFW sits in fourth place with a 7-5 ledger.
For the most up-to-date news on Ball State men’s volleyball, follow @bsuathletics and @BallStateMVB on Twitter. The team is also on Instagram at @ballstatemvb.