Men's Volleyball Closes Regular Season This Weekend
►REGULAR SEASON COMES TO AN END: The Ball State men's volleyball team closes the 2012 regular season with a pair of road matches this weekend, starting Friday with its league finale at Quincy . . . The Cardinals end the regular season Saturday at Lindenwood . . . Both matches start at 8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT.
►FOLLOW THE ACTION: Live stats will be available for both matches this weekend at the links above . . . In addition, Lindenwood is set to offer streaming video for Saturday's match.
►CARDINALS ALL-TIME: The Ball State men's volleyball program enters Friday's match at Quincy with a 1065-431-8 (.711) 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 week with an 1,238-288 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 (Feb. 25), picking up a 3-0 victory . . . He enters Friday's match with a 261-146 (.641) career record . . . Walton holds a 28-4 all-time mark in matches he has coached versus Quincy, while leading Ball State to a 4-0 record against Lindenwood.
►SETTING UP THE MIVA TOURNAMENT: After a pair of losses last week, the best the Cardinals can finish in the MIVA race is a possible tie for fifth with IPFW depending on this weekends' results . . . Ball State does own the tiebreaker over the Mastodons by virtue of its 4-3 set record in the season series . . . BSU is currently the sixth seed in the tournament and set up to travel to No. 3 Loyola if the season were to end today.
►ALL-TIME VERSUS QUINCY: Including a 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 28-26) sweep of Quincy Feb. 11, Ball State holds a 37-4 advantage in the all-time series versus the Hawks . . . Quincy has won two of the last five meetings however, including a stunning 3-1 (17-25, 25-21, 25-20, 26-24) upset of the Cardinals in the quarterfinals of the 2011 MIVA Tournament . . . BSU also suffered a 3-1 (30-28, 36-34, 26-30, 30-25) setback in its last match played in Quincy, Ill., Feb. 13, 2010.
►ALL-TIME VERSUS LINDENWOOD: The Cardinals have won all four previous meetings in the series versus the Hawks . . . Earlier this year, the Cardinals pulled out a 3-1 (25-22, 25-20, 23-25, 25-13) victory in Muncie (Feb. 9) . . . Saturday's match will mark BSU's first-ever trip to Lindenwood.
►SCOUTING THE CARDINALS: The Cardinals enter the final week of the 2012 regular season with a 12-10 (4-7 MIVA) record after dropping a pair of road matches to No. 9 Lewis and IPFW last weekend . . . Junior outside attacker Larry Wrather paces the BSU attack with a 2.55 kills-per-set average, while redshirt junior opposite attacker Jamion Hartley is second at 2.54 kps . . . Junior Dan Wichmann and sophomore Graham McIlvaine have split time at setter this season and have guided the Cardinals to a .214 team hitting mark . . . Redshirt sophomore middle attacker Matt Leske has a team-high 1.32 blocks per set, while sophomore middle attacker Kevin Owens hits a league-best .405 . . . Sophomore libero Tommy Rouse averages 2.38 digs per set to pace the BSU backcourt.
►TAKING CHARGE AT THE NET: Ball State continues to be one of the most dominating defenses in the nation at the net, ranking eighth in the country with a 2.76 blocks-per-set average . . . Matt Leske leads the Ball State block and ranks ninth nationally at 1.32 bps, while Kevin Owens is 18th in the country at 1.11.
►AND IN THE BACKCOURT: Ball State also enters the weekend ranked fourth nationally with a 9.57 digs-per-set average . . . Tommy Rouse is ninth among all NCAA Division I/II players at 2.38 dps, while Larry Wrather is 41st at 1.83.
►A WRATHER BIG WEEKEND: Junior outside attacker Larry Wrather paced the Ball State offense with 24 total kills in the Cardinals two matches last week . . . He recorded his second double-double of the season with 10 kills and 10 digs at No. 9 Lewis, while blasting 14 kills at IPFW . . . Wrather also turned in a solid showing at the net, ranking second on the team with a 1.12 blocks-per-set average for the week.