TOURNAMENT TIME: The Ball State men's volleyball team opens play in the 2011 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament Saturday, when it hosts Quincy in a 7:30 p.m. first serve at Worthen Arena . . . Ball State earned the No. 3 seed in the tournament with a 7-5 league record, while Quincy posted a 3-9 MIVA mark to earn the No. 6 seed.
ADMISSION FOR SATURDAY: Admission will be charged for Saturday's MIVA Tournament quarterfinal match versus Quincy . . . The adult ticket price will be $5 . . . Ball State students and fans 18-and-under will be charged $3.
FOLLOW THE ACTION: Ball State All-Access will provide live video coverage for Saturday's MIVA Tournament quarterfinal match versus Quincy . . . All-Access members can watch the match with their current subscription, while non-members can watch for a one-time fee of $4.95 . . . WCRD 91.3 FM will also carry the match online with free streaming audio . . . Live stats will also be available.
SETTING UP THE TOURNAMENT: With an 11-1 MIVA record, Ohio State earned its fifth consecutive MIVA Regular Season Championship, as well as the No. 1 seed and a quarterfinal round bye in the MIVA Tournament . . . Loyola picked up the No. 2 seed with a 9-3 league record, followed by No. 3 Ball State (7-5 MIVA), No. 4 Lewis (7-5 MIVA), No. 5 IPFW (5-7 MIVA), No. 6 Quincy (3-9 MIVA) and No. 7 Grand Canyon (0-12).
2011 MIVA Tournament Schedule
Quarterfinals (No. # indicates seed):
Friday, April 22
Match 1: No. 5 IPFW at No. 4 Lewis, 7 p.m. (CT)
Saturday, April 23
Match 2: No. 7 Grand Canyon at No. 2 Loyola, 7 p.m. (CT)
Match 3: No. 6 Quincy at No. 3 Ball State, 7:30 p.m.
Semifinals (at highest remaining seed)
Wednesday, April 27
Match 4: Winner of Match 1 at No. 1 Ohio State, 7 p.m.
Match 5: Winner of Match 2 vs. Winner of Match 3
Championship (at highest remaining seed)
Saturday, April 30
Match 6: Match 4 Winner vs. Match 5 Winner
IN THE TOURNAMENT: Ball State enters Saturday's MIVA Tournament quarterfinal match with a 57-26 (.687) all-time mark in league tournament play . . . BSU is 15-1 in quarterfinal matches, 16-11 in semifinal action and 14-11 in championship matches . . . From 1964-1969, BSU was 12-3 in round robin play . . . Last season, the Cardinals scored a 3-0 quarterfinal win over IPFW before falling to eventual tournament champion Ohio State in the semifinals.
GOING FOR 20: With a 19-10 record, BSU will be looking to claim the program's 33rd 20-win season when it takes the court Saturday versus Quincy . . . Joel Walton, who is in his 13th season as BSU's head coach, has guided the program to seven 20-win seasons over his tenure with the last coming in 2008.
WEEKEND RECAP: The Cardinals ended the 2011 regular season on a high note, snapping a 12-match losing streak to No. 9 Penn State with a 3-0 sweep of the Nittany Lions Friday . . . BSU followed with a 3-1 senior day victory over Saint Francis Saturday . . . BSU finished the regular season with three straight wins.
IN THE POLLS: After its sweep of No. 9 Penn State, the Ball State men's volleyball team moved back into the rankings for the first time since Feb. 7, appearing at No. 15 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I-II Men's Coaches Top 15 Poll . . . 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 19-10 (7-5 MIVA) record topping No. 9 Penn State and Saint Francis last weekend . . . Sophomore Larry Wrather leads the Ball State attack with a 2.68 kills-per-game average, while sophomore Jamion Hartley is second at 2.43 . . . Freshman Graham McIlvaine and sophomore Dan Wichmann have combined to guide the Ball State offense to a .263 hitting mark this season, averaging 9.93 and 9.90 assist per game, respectively . . . Defensively, redshirt freshman Tommy Rouse leads the team with a 2.33 digs-per-game average, while senior Anders Nelson paces the league at the net with a 1.35 blocks-per-game average . . . BSU is limiting its opponents to a league-low .181 hitting mark this season.
SERIES VS. QUINCY: After sweeping the regular season series versus the Hawks, the Cardinals enter the 2011 MIVA Tournament with a 36-3 advantage in the all-time series . . . During the regular season, BSU scored a 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-17) win Feb. 25 and a 3-1 (18-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-20) victory Feb. 26, with both matches being played at Worthen Arena . . . BSU holds a 21-1 lead in matches played in Muncie, including 14 straight home wins.
MIVA TOURNAMENT VS. QUINCY: The Cardinals and Hawks have meet four times in MIVA Tournament play, with Ball State winning all four contests . . . The latest MIVA Tournament meeting came in 2009, when BSU scored a 3-0 (30-18, 30-13, 30-28) quarterfinal round victory over Quincy . . . Ball State also claimed quarterfinal round victories over the Hawks in 2008 (3-1), 2003 (3-0) and 2000 (3-0).
SCOUTING QUINCY The Hawks enter the MIVA Tournament with a 21-13 (3-9 MIVA) record . . . It is the first 20-win season in program history . . . Last week, the Hawks hosted No. 12 Loyola for a two-match series, scoring a 3-2 (24-26, 25-23, 25-27, 25-17, 15-13) upset of the Ramblers Friday, before falling 3-1 (25-21, 25-20, 16-25, 25-23) Saturday . . . Joseph Ascher and Joseph Sokol are tied for team-high honors with 2.58 kills-per-game averages, while Ryan Lehmann is third at 2.34 . . . Andrew Ouano has set the Hawks offense to a .253 rate of success this season, handing out 10.01 assists-per-game . . . Defensively, Tanner Wright leads the team with a 2.18 digs-per-game average, while Steven Battaglia has a team-best 0.91 blocks-per-game average . . . Quincy is limiting its opponents to a .202 hitting percentage which ranks second in the conference.
BREAKING DOWN THE SEASON SERIES: Looking at the stats, the Cardinals can attribute their two regular season wins over the Hawks to their dominating presence at the net . . . Ball State held a 2.86 to 1.36 advantage in blocks per game for the series, which helped limit the Quincy offense to a .163 hitting mark . . . The Cardinals offense connected for a .312 rate of success . . . BSU also held a 10 to five advantage in service aces over the two matches . . . Both teams averaged 7.14 digs per game, while BSU held a slim 11.74 to 11.57 edge in kills per game . . . Greg Herceg paces the Ball State offense in the two matches with 21 kills, while Anders Nelson and Larry Wrather added 14 apiece . . . Herceg also tallied five of BSU's 10 aces in the series . . . Nelson tallied a team-high nine total blocks (three solo and two assists) over the two contests . . . J.D. Gasparovic added eight kills and four blocks in the second contest, after setting out the first . . . Joseph Sokol led the Quincy attack with 21 kills, while Joseph Ascher added 19 . . . Three players collected four blocks apiece for the Hawks.
CAREER VS. QUINCY: Lee Meyer enters Saturday's match with 63 career kills versus Quincy, the most of any active BSU player . . . The total includes Meyer's career-high 27-kill performance at Quincy Feb. 12, 2010 . . . J.D. Gasparovic is second among active players with 51 career kills versus the Hawks, while Marcus Imwalle is third at 36 . . . Gasparovic has 28 career blocks versus Quincy to lead the squad, while Dominic Spadavecchio has a team-best 11 aces . . . Eight of Spadavecchio's 11 aces came in the first game of the March 28, 2009 showdown . . . The eight aces tie as the third-best match total in program history and are a school-record for aces in a game . . . Spadavecchio's 28 career digs versus Quincy also lead the squad, one ahead of Meyer's 27.
GASPAROVIC NAMED MIVA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: After a pair of solid performances last weekend, J.D. Gasparovic was named the MIVA Defensive Player of the Week . . . This is his third career MIVA Player of the Week honor and first this season . . . Gasparovic was instrumental in helping the Cardinals snap a 12-match losing streak to No. 9 Penn State last Friday, racking up a match-high 10 block assists, while adding three kills and a dig . . . In Saturday's win over Saint Francis, he tallied 10 kills, three blocks (one solo and two assists) and a career-high tying five digs . . . For the week, Gasparovic averaged 1.86 blocks, 1.86 kills, 0.86 digs and 2.86 points per game, while hitting .300.
STUFFING THE COMPETITION: Ball State dominated play at the net last weekend, collecting 25 team blocks for a 3.57 blocks-per-game average . . . With the effort, BSU remained first in the nation with a 3.05 average for the season . . . Pacific is currently second at 2.92 . . . Individually, Anders Nelson ranks third nationally with a 1.35 blocks-per-game average, while J.D. Gasparovic is fifth at 1.29.
CAREER LEADER: With his 10 block assists versus No. 9 Penn State, J.D. Gasparovic moved into first place in program history for career block assists, passing Phil Eatherton's (1994-97) career total of 477 . . . Gasparovic added two more block assists in Saturday's win over Saint Francis to up his career total to 481 . . . Gasparovic has racked up 550 total blocks over his career, including 69 solo blocks, to rank second on BSU's all-time list trailing only Eatherton's 575 career total . . . In addition, Gasparovic's 550 blocks, 481 block assists and 69 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 773 career kills . . . Anders Nelson is second on the list with 656 career kills followed by Lee Meyer (496) and Marcus Imwalle (495).
ANDERS CLIMBING THE CHARTS TOO: With seven block assists last weekend, Anders Nelson climbed from 11th to eighth in program history with 329 career block assists . . . In addition, his 396 career total blocks remain 13th in program history and leave him eight shy of breaking into the top 10 in BSU annals . . . Both totals, along with his 67 career solo blocks, rank second in the BSU rally scoring era behind only J.D. Gasparovic.
IMWALLE SHINES IN LIBERO ROLE: Marcus Imwalle provided a pair of solid performances for the Cardinals last week as the team's starting libero . . . In Saturday's win over Saint Francis, Imwalle led all players with a career-high tying 15 digs, after collecting four in the win versus No. 9 Penn State Friday . . . It was just the second and third time in his career Imwalle has started a match at libero . . . The first came in the Feb. 26 win over Quincy when he collected four digs in the first game.
NINE EARN ACADEMIC ALL-MIVA ACCOLADES: The Ball State men's volleyball team placed nine student-athletes on the 2011 MIVA Academic All-Conference Team . . . Highlighting Ball State's list of honorees are a trio of four-time award winners in seniors J.D. Gasparovic, Lee Meyer and Dominic Spadavecchio . . . In addition to the four-time honorees, senior Anders Nelson earns the honor for a third time . . . Sophomores Greg Herceg, Matt Leske and Tommy Rouse are all picking up the award for the second time, while freshmen Graham McIlvaine and Kevin Owens are first-time award winners.
WEEKLY HONORS: So far this season, the Cardinals have claimed three MIVA Weekly Awards . . . J.D. Gasparovic was named the MIVA Defensive Player of the Week April 18 after averaging 1.86 blocks, 1.86 kills, 0.86 digs and 2.86 points per game versus No. 9 Penn State and Saint Francis . . . 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.