MUNCIE, Ind. - The No. 15 Ball State men's volleyball team will have an exciting end to the regular season by hosting MIVA rivals No. 9 Lewis and No. 11 Loyola-Chicago Thursday and Saturday evenings at Worthen Arena. Both matches will have seeding implications for the MIVA Tournament.
Scouting the Cardinals
No. 15 Ball State (18-5, 7-5) is currently on a 10-match winning streak after earning victories over conference foes Quincy and Lindenwood. The current winning streak is the longest since the 2008 season when Ball State won 11 matches in a row. The Cardinals cracked the top-15 in the AVCA Coaches Poll two weeks ago for the first time since the 2011 season and remain No. 15 this week.
Kevin Owens was named MIVA Defensive Player of the Week after leading the blocking unit for BSU with 1.50 blocks per set. The junior was also credited with 2.17 kills per set off a .500 hitting percentage. Owens also recorded a service ace in the victory over Lindenwood.
Ball State in National Rankings
Ball State leads the nation in digs per set with a 10.96 digs per set average. The Cardinals also rank second in the country in kills per set (13.06), second in blocks per set (2.95) and fourth in assists per set (12.16).
Junior middle attacker Matt Leske continues to lead the nation in blocking with his 1.44 blocks per set average. Tommy Rouse is third in Division I-II in digs per set with his 2.90 digs per set average.
The No. 9 Flyers are ranked for the 47th-straight week dating back to Jan. 2011. Lewis leads the country in blocks per set with a 3.04 blocks per set average with middle hitters Yiewi Zhou and Bobby Walsh leading the way with averages of 1.26 and 1.23 blocks per set. Outside hitter Geoff Powell leads the MIVA with 342 total kills for a 3.72 kills per set average.
Series with Lewis
The Cardinals hold a 28-20 advantage in the all-time series that dates back to 1994. Lewis won the match earlier this season (Feb. 22) in Romeoville in three sets (25-20, 25-23, 25-17).
No. 11 Loyola’s sweep of Ohio State extended its season-best winning streak to eight matches. It is Loyola’s longest winning streak since opening the 2010 season by winning its first 12 matches. The win snapped Ohio State’s eight-match winning streak against the Ramblers. Joe Smalzer tied his career high with seven aces in the win. Despite having another year of
eligibility, Smalzer already holds Loyola’s career record for aces. Cody Caldwell racked up 12 kills and 10 digs against the Buckeyes for his second double-double in Loyola’s last three matches.
Series with Loyola-Chicago
Loyola-Chicago leads the all-time series 23-18. The Ramblers won the match earlier this season in Chicago (Feb. 23) in straight sets (25-21, 25-23, 25-20).
Owens Earns Second MIVA Nod of Season
Junior middle hitter Kevin Owens was named MIVA Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season after earning 1.50 blocks per set in sweeps over Quincy and Lindenwood.