MVB Plays At Cal-State Northridge Wednesday
►THE WEEK AHEAD: The Ball State men's volleyball heads to the west coast this week, beginning with a Wednesday showdown at Cal-State Northridge (7 p.m. PST) . . . The Cardinals will then travel to Phoenix, Ariz., for a pair of league matches versus Grand Canyon . . . The Cardinals and the 'Lopes will battle a 6 p.m. (MST) Friday and Saturday.
►FOLLOW THE ACTION: Live stats will be available for all three matches this week, while Grand Canyon will offer streaming video for both the Friday and Saturday's matches.
►CARDINALS ALL-TIME: The Ball State men's volleyball program enters Wednesday's match at Cal-State Northridge with a 1063-426-8 (.713) all-time record in 48-plus seasons of play . . . The program, which officially became a varsity sport at Ball State during the 1964 season, joins baseball and men's basketball as the only programs in school history to reach 1,000 wins . . . In addition, only one other NCAA Division I/II men's volleyball program has eclipsed 1,000 wins, with UCLA entering the weekend with an 1,233-284 all-time record over 49-plus years.
►250 AND COUNTING: Joel Walton, who is in his 14th season as BSU's head coach, picked up his 250th career victory in a 3-2 thriller at George Mason (Jan. 14) . . . Walton coached his 400th career match versus Park on Feb. 25, picking up a 3-0 victory to improve his career record to 259-141 (.648) . . . Walton is 2-2 all-time versus Cal-State Northridge, while owning a 6-0 all-time mark versus Grand Canyon, including a 4-0 ledger since the 'Lopes joined the MIVA.
►ALL-TIME VERSUS THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: Cal-State Northridge holds an 11-6 edge in the all-time series, despite a 3-0 (30-24, 30-28, 30-22) Ball State victory in the most-recent meeting March 27, 2010 at Worthen Arena . . . Ranked third in the nation at the time, the Matadors picked up a 3-0 (30-22, 30-24, 30-28) the night before (March 26, 2010) . . . CSUN holds a 6-1 edge in matches played on its home court . . . Ball State is 6-0 all-time versus Grand Canyon, including a pair of home wins last season . . . BSU opened the 2011 series with a 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-16, 25-21) victory April 1, while escaping with a 3-2 (25-12, 18-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-13) win the following night . . . BSU is 3-0 in matches played in Phoenix, Ariz.
►SCOUTING THE CARDINALS: The Cardinals enter the week with an 10-5 (2-3 MIVA) record after posted sweeps of Mount Olive (Feb. 24) and Park (Feb. 25) in its latest contests . . . Redshirt junior right side attacker Jamion Hartley paces the BSU attack with a 2.68 kills-per-set average, while junior outside attacker Larry Wrather is second at 2.62 kps . . . Sophomore setter Graham McIlvaine has guided BSU to a .220 rate of success on offense by handing out 9.33 assists per set . . . Sophomore middle blocker Kevin Owens has a team-high .407 hitting percentage and also leads the team with 1.28 blocks per set . . . Sophomore libero Tommy Rouse averages 2.28 digs per set to pace the BSU back court.
►TAKING CHARGE AT THE NET: Ball State continues to be one of the most dominating defenses in the nation at the net, ranking seventh in the country with a 2.89 blocks-per-set average . . . Kevin Owens leads the Ball State block and ranks seventh nationally at 1.28 bps, while Matt Leske is 13th in the country at 1.20 and Graham McIlvaine is 35th at 0.96.
►LEADING THE ATTACK: Larry Wrather has led the Ball State offense in kills in five of the last six matches, racking up 56 markers for a 3.11 kills-per-set average during the span . . . He has collected double-digit kills in three of the six matches, including a season-high tying 14 tallies in the sweep of IPFW (Feb. 18) . . . Kevin Owens is second on the team over the last six matches with 41 kills.
►SUTHERLAND JOINS THE BLOCK: Redshirt freshman outside attacker Matt Sutherland turned in a career blocking performance versus Park, racking up five block assists to help the Cardinals hold a 14.5-1.0 advantage at the net . . . He also blasted a pair of kills against Park . . . One night earlier Sutherland tagged a career-high five kills versus Mount Olive, while hitting .571 (5-1-7).