MEN'S VOLLEYBALL WRAPS UP LEAGUE PLAY: The Ball State men's volleyball team wraps up Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association play this weekend with matches versus No. 12 Loyola and IPFW . . . Friday, Ball State travels to Chicago to battle the 12th-ranked Ramblers at 7 p.m. (CT) . . . The Cardinals return to Worthen Arena Saturday to take on the Mastodons at 7:30 p.m . . . Saturday's match will be webcasted live by Ball State Sports Link and can be seen FREE on ballstatesports.com.
WEEKEND RECAP: The Cardinals improved to 16-9 (6-4 MIVA) with a pair of MIVA wins over Grand Canyon last weekend . . . BSU started the two-match home series with a 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-16, 25-21) win Friday, while earning a hard-fought 3-2 (25-12, 18-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-13) victory Saturday.
LOOKING AROUND THE LEAGUE: With a win over second-place Loyola Friday, Ohio State secured its fifth consecutive MIVA Regular Season Championship and, despite a loss at Lewis Saturday, locked up the No. 1 seed in the upcoming MIVA Tournament finishing league play with an 11-1 record . . . Loyola remains in second at 7-2, followed by Ball State (6-4), Lewis (5-4), IPFW (4-6), Quincy (0-8) and Grand Canyon (0-8) . . . This weekend will go a long way in clearing up the seeding picture, as both Ball State and IPFW complete league play . . . BSU will battle Loyola and IPFW, while the Mastodons take on Lewis in addition to the Cardinals . . . Quincy also hosts Grand Canyon in a two-match series.
IN THE POLLS: The Ball State men's volleyball team remained outside the top 15 for the eighth consecutive week in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I-II Men's Coaches Top 15 Poll . . . BSU did receive 10 points which is seven 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 16-9 (6-4 MIVA) record after winning a pair of league matches versus Grand Canyon last weekend . . . Sophomore Larry Wrather leads the Ball State attack with a 2.59 kills-per-game average, while sophomore Greg Herceg is second at 2.32 . . . Freshman Graham McIlvaine and sophomore Dan Wichmann have combined to guide the Ball State offense to a .259 hitting mark this season, averaging 9.98 and 9.90 assist per game, respectively . . . Defensively, redshirt freshman Tommy Rouse leads the team with a 2.41 digs-per-game average, while senior Anders Nelson paces BSU at the net with a 1.30 blocks-per-game average . . . BSU is limiting its opponents to a league-low .185 hitting mark this season.
SERIES VS. LOYOLA: The Ramblers hold a slim 19-18 advantage in the all-time series versus Ball State after scoring a 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-21, 25-18) win over the Cardinals Feb. 19 in Worthen Arena . . . It was the first time the road team had won a match in the series since 2007 . . . Ball State is 3-15 all-time in matches played in Chicago, including 15 straight losses at Loyola's Alumni Gym . . . BSU's last win at Loyola was a 3-1 (15-11, 15-10, 11-15, 15-0) victory Jan. 18, 1997.
SCOUTING NO. 12 LOYOLA: The Ramblers enter Friday's match with a 17-6 (7-2 MIVA) record and ranked 12th in the latest AVCA Division I-II Men's Coaches Top 15 Poll . . . In its lone match last week, Loyola dropped a 3-1 decision to Ohio State . . . Mike Bunting leads the team with a 4.31 kills-per-game average, while Joseph Smalzer is second at 3.06 . . . Mike Hutz has set the Ramblers offense to a .331 rate of success this season, handing out 10.07 assists-per-game . . . Defensively, Tommy Becker leads the team with a 1.41 digs-per-game average, while Eric Daliege leads Loyola's regulars with a 0.84 blocks-per-game average . . . Loyola is limiting opponents to a .256 hitting percentage this season.
SERIES VS. IPFW: The Cardinals hold a 65-25 advantage in the all-time series versus IPFW including eight straight wins . . . Earlier this season, BSU used a rally scoring era record (for a three game match) 21.5 team blocks in a 3-0 (26-24, 25-21, 25-18) sweep of the Mastodons in Fort Wayne Feb. 12 . . . The Cardinals hold a 29-11 advantage in matches played in Muncie, with the Mastodon's last road win coming March 18, 2006.
SCOUTING IPFW: The Mastodons enter the week with a 14-9 (4-6 MIVA) record . . . Last week, IPFW scored a pair of wins over Quincy (3-0 & 3-1) . . . The Mastodons will play at Lewis Friday, before making the trip down I-69 to Muncie Saturday . . . Darryl Shank leads the team with a 4.14 kills-per-game average, while Ivan Matos is second at 3.30 . . . Adam Quinn has set the Mastodons offense to a .264 rate of success this season, handing out 10.15 assists-per-game . . . Defensively, Shank leads the team with a 1.81 digs-per-game average, while Corey Frain has a league-best 1.32 blocks-per-game average . . . IPFW is limiting opponents to a .223 hitting percentage this season.
BLOCKING THE MASTODONS: The 21.5 blocks at IPFW (Feb. 12) were the most in a match for the Cardinals since Feb. 25, 2010, when the Ball State posted 22.5 blocks in a five set home win over IPFW . . . Of BSU's top six blocking efforts in the rally scoring era, three have come against the Mastodons . . . The Cardinals also scored 21.5 blocks in a five set win over IPFW March 21, 2008.
STUFFING THE COMPETITION: After having limited success at the net versus Grand Canyon, the Cardinals fell into a tie for second in the nation with a 2.89 team blocks-per-game average . . . Pacific leads the nation at 2.90, while BYU, BSU and Mount Olive have 2.89 averages . . . Individually, Anders Nelson ranks fourth nationally with a 1.30 blocks-per-game average, while J.D. Gasparovic is eighth at 1.16.
SECOND ON THE CHARTS: J.D. Gasparovic enters the week ranked second in program history in career blocks (518) and career block assists (455) . . . Phil Eatherton (1994-97) is BSU's all-time leader in both categories with 575 career blocks and 477 career block assists . . . Gasparovic's 518 blocks, 455 block assists and 63 solo blocks are 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 751 career kills . . . Anders Nelson is second on the list with 616 career kills followed by Marcus Imwalle (486) and Lee Meyer (473).
ANDERS CLIMBING THE CHARTS TOO: With his eight total blocks last weekend, Anders Nelson climbed to 14th in program history with 370 career blocks . . . In addition, his 309 career block assists rank 12th in program history.
DIGGING IT UP: Libero Tommy Rouse has been on a hot streak of late in the back row, collecting double-digit digs in four of BSU's last five matches . . . During the span he has averaged 2.45 digs-per-game, moving his season average up to 2.41 which ranks second in the league and ninth nationally.
HEAVY HITTING: Sophomore Larry Wrather has led the Cardinals in kills in three of the past five matches, while posting double-digit kills four times during the span for a 2.77 kills-per-game average . . . Wrather enters the week ranked 11th in the MIVA with a 2.59 kills-per-game average.
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.