CARDINALS PREP FOR THREE MATCHES: This weekend will be a busy one for the Ball State men's volleyball team as it prepares for three matches in three days . . . BSU starts play Friday, when it hosts No. 12 Lewis in a pivotal league showdown beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Worthen Arena . . . Saturday, the Cardinals make an eight-hour trek south to Bristol, Tenn., to play King College in a 7 p.m. non-conference match . . . Ball State concludes the weekend Sunday, with a 3 p.m. contest versus Lees McRae, which will be played at King College.
WEEKEND RECAP: Ball State saw its six-match non-conference winning streak come to an end last Friday with an 0-3 (18-25, 34-36, 17-25) setback at No. 9 Penn State . . . BSU rebounded Saturday with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-20) sweep at Saint Francis . . . In the two matches, senior middle attacker Anders Nelson led the BSU offense with a .650 (15-2-20) attack percentage while averaging 2.50 kills and 1.50 blocks per game.
LOOKING AROUND THE LEAGUE: Ohio State picked up two more league wins Sunday and Monday to improve to 10-0 in Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association play and needs one more win to secure at least a share of their fifth consecutive MIVA Regular Season title . . . Loyola, which scored a 3-2 victory at Lewis Tuesday, is second in the league with a 6-1 MIVA mark . . . Lewis and Ball State are battling for the third spot, with the Flyers holding a half-match advantage at 3-3 compared to BSU's 3-4 mark . . . Lewis also won the earlier meeting between the two programs . . . IPFW is fifth at 2-5, while Quincy (0-5) and Grand Canyon (0-6) round out the league standings.
IN THE POLLS: The Ball State men's volleyball team remained outside the top 15 for the sixth consecutive week in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I-II Men's Coaches Top 15 Poll . . . BSU did receive seven points which is 18 less than No. 15 Pacific . . . BSU has been ranked as high as 12th this season (Jan. 17 & Jan. 24) . . . BSU has also received votes in the Asics/Volleyball Magazine Men's Division I-II Top 10 Poll twice (Jan. 17 & Jan. 24).
SCOUTING BALL STATE: The Cardinals enter the week with a 12-8 (3-4 MIVA) record after splitting a pair of matches last week . . . Sophomore Larry Wrather leads the Ball State attack with a 2.52 kills-per-game average, while sophomore Greg Herceg is second at 2.49 . . . Freshman Graham McIlvaine and sophomore Dan Wichmann have combined to guide the Ball State offense to a .262 hitting mark this season, averaging 10.00 and 9.96 assist per game, respectively . . . Defensively, redshirt freshman Tommy Rouse leads the team with a 2.39 digs-per-game average for the year, while senior Anders Nelson paces the league at the net with a 1.43 blocks-per-game average . . . BSU is limiting its opponents to a .193 hitting mark this season.
SERIES VS. LEWIS: Ball State holds a 27-17 edge in the all-time series versus the Flyers . . . In the first meeting between the two teams this season, Lewis scored a 3-2 (25-22, 25-15, 23-25, 22-25, 15-10) home victory over the Cardinals Feb. 11 . . . BSU holds a 14-7 advantage in matches played in Muncie, despite a five-set loss to the Flyers at Worthen Arena last season.
SCOUTING NO. 12 LEWIS: The Flyers enter Friday's match with a 15-7 (3-3 MIVA) record and ranked 12th in the latest AVCA Division I-II Men's Coaches Top 15 Poll . . . Lewis is coming off a hard-fought five-game setback versus No. 11 Loyola Tuesday . . . Jay Petty leads the team with a 3.68 kills-per-set average, while Ian Karbiener is second at 3.06 . . . BJ Boldog has set the Flyers offense to a .290 rate of success this season, handing out 10.60 assists-per-set . . . Defensively, Roberto Torres leads the team with a 2.21 digs-per-set average, while Matt Gallik has a team-best 1.04 blocks-per-set average . . . Lewis is limiting its opponents to a .247 hitting percentage this season.
SERIES VS. KING COLLEGE: Ball State won the only previous match between the two programs 3-0 (30-15, 30-24, 30-19) April 9, 2010.
SCOUTING KING COLLEGE: The Tornado enter the week with a 7-5 (3-3 CC) record and host Eastern Mennonite Thursday before battling BSU Saturday . . . In its last match (March 15), King scored a 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-20) win over Philadelphia Biblical . . . Michael Koebel leads the team with a 2.74 kills-per-game average, while James Friddle is second at 2.51 . . . Joel Salva has set the Tornado offense to a .274 rate of success this season, handing out 9.27 assists per game . . . Defensively, Salva leads the team with a 2.54 digs-per-game average, while Eric Glenn has a team-best 1.21 blocks-per-game average . . . Kings' opponents are hitting .255.
SERIES VS. LEES MCRAE: Sunday's match will be the first-ever meeting between Ball State and Lees McRae.
SCOUTING LEES MCRAE: The Bobcats enter the week with a 14-7 (4-1 CC) record and play at George Mason Friday, before battling the Cardinals Sunday . . . Last Saturday, the Bobcats scored a 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-22) win over Pfeiffer . . . Chad Mercado leads the team with a 4.69 kills-per-game average, while Eduardo Gonzales is second at 2.22 . . . Randy Ramirez has set the Lees McRae offense to a .286 rate of success this season, handing out 10.30 assists per game . . . Defensively, Juan Ramirez leads the team with a 2.52 digs-per-game average, while Matt Harpenau has a team-best 0.84 blocks-per-game average . . . Lees McRae's opponents are hitting .161.
STUFFING THE COMPETITION: Ball State continued its domination at the net last weekend, averaging 3.00 blocks per game over the two matches . . . The Cardinals enter the week ranked first in the nation with a 3.09 blocks-per-game average . . . Mount Olive is second in the country at 2.98 . . . Individually, senior middle attacker Anders Nelson ranks third nationally with a 1.43 blocks-per-game average, while fellow senior middle attacker J.D. Gasparovic is seventh at 1.22 . . . The pair rank first and third, respectively, in the MIVA.
436 AND COUNTING: With his six block assists last weekend, J.D. Gasparovic is currently tied for second in program history with 436 career block assists . . . He needs 42 to pass Phil Eatherton's (1994-97) career total of 477 for first . . . In addition, his 496 career total blocks rank fourth in BSU annals . . . He needs just eight more blocks to move into third in program history in that category . . . Eatherton is also BSU's all-time leader in total career blocks at 575 . . . In addition, Gasparovic's 496 total blocks, 436 block assists and 60 solo blocks are all BSU rally scoring era records.
BSU'S ACTIVE KILL LEADER: In addition to ranking as one of the top blockers in program history, J.D. Gasparovic enters the week as BSU's active kills leader with 707 career kills . . . Anders Nelson is second on the list with 569 career kills followed by senior outside attacker Marcus Imwalle (463).
ANDERS CLIMBING THE CHARTS TOO: With his nine total blocks last weekend, Anders Nelson climbed to 16th in program history with 351 career blocks . . . In addition, his 295 career block assists rank 14th in program history.
WEEKLY HONORS: So far this season, the Cardinals have claimed a pair of MIVA Weekly Awards . . . Tommy Rouse was named the MIVA Defensive Player of the Week Jan. 31 after averaging 3.44 digs per game and posting a .953 serve reception percentage versus George Mason and Sacred Heart . . . Anders Nelson earned MIVA Offensive Player of the Week honors Feb. 14 after leading the team with 19 kills, 17 total blocks and a .593 (19-3-27) attack percentage against Lewis and IPFW.
SPADAVECCHIO NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: After collecting 23 kills and 12 digs in BSU's three matches at the Outrigger Hotels Invitational, redshirt junior outside attacker Dominic Spadavecchio was named to the event's All-Tournament Team . . . Spadavecchio collected six kills versus Hawai'i, 10 versus UCLA and seven against Penn State.