MUNCIE, Ind. – The
Ball State men’s volleyball team battled through another five-set thriller to
remain undefeated after taking down Grand Canyon (25-22, 25-12, 18-25, 23-25,
15-12) Saturday afternoon at Worthen Arena. Senior outside attacker Greg Herceg
led the Cardinals’ offense with a career-high 25 kills.
With the win Ball State moves to a spotless 8-0 on the
season and 3-0 in MIVA play, while Grand Canyon falls to 4-6 and 0-3 in league
Herceg’s career-high 25 kills came off a .281 hitting
percentage (25-9-57). The senior tallied a double-double after getting under a
season-high 12 digs. Junior middle attacker Matt Leske tied his career-high in
assisted blocks at eight and added two solo blocks. Leske also registered seven
kills and a career-high four digs.
Senior setter Dan Wichmann tallied a career-high seven
assisted blocks to go with 47 assists, three kills and a season-high eight
digs. Libero Tommy Rouse got under a career-high tying 18 digs. Herceg, Shane
Witmer and Urim Demirovski all tallied two service aces.
The Cardinals were in control for much of the first set with
Herceg leading the charge with six kills. Witmer knocked in his two service
aces in the set. Ball State was outhit by Grand Canyon .235 (12-4-34) to .200
(14-7-35) in the frame and the ‘Lopes got 3.5 blocks to the Cardinals’ one
The Cardinal’s defense picked up in the second set with the
team nabbing nine total blocks. Demirovski rattled off six straight points and
Wichmann took the set home serving the final five points. Leske and Wichmann
added five assisted blocks in the set and Herceg tallied five kills.
The third set saw GCU hit at .269 (10-3-26) to BSU’s .152
clip (12-7-33). The ‘Lopes benefited from four Cardinal service errors and
out-blocked BSU 3.5-2.0. Grand Canyon started the match going ion a 9-3 run and
Ball State was not able to recover.
The fourth set saw 11 ties and five lead changes. Herceg
served three crucial points down the stretch to bring the cardinals to within
two, 24-22. Kevin Owens followed up with a kill to bring Ball State to within
one, but Grand Canyon’s Ben Ponnet sealed the set with a kill.
Ball State jumped to a 6-3 lead in the deciding set off
three-straight kills from Herceg to force a Grand Canyon timeout. The ‘Lopes
would go on to tie the match four times down the stretch. A GCU service error
and attack error forced a timeout as BSU was up 12-10. A kill by Witmer and
Herceg brought the set to 14-11 in BSU’s favor. A Cardinal attack error gave
the ‘Lopes life, but a kill from Herceg sealed the set and the match for Ball
The ‘Lopes were led by the trio of Ryan Mather, Ben Ponnet
and Christian Ward who had 12, 11 and 10 kills respectively.
The teams will square off Sunday night at 7 p.m. at Worthen
Arena. You can keep track of the team on Twitter at @BallStateMVB or on
Facebook at “Ball State Men’s Volleyball”. As always, ballstatesports.com is
the official site of Ball State Athletics.