MUNCIE, Ind. – The No. 15 Ball State men’s volleyball team took down No. 9 Lewis Thursday night in four sets (25-18, 24-26, 25-18, 25-15). Red-shirt senior Jamion Hartley led the match in kills with 20 while junior Kevin Owens was able to tally six assisted blocks.
With the win the Cardinals improve to 19-5 on the year and 8-5 in MIVA action while the Flyers drop to 19-8 on the season and 10-3 in league play. Ball State is now on an 11-match winning streak, it’s first since the 2008 season. The Cardinals have not gone 12-straight since the 1966 season.
Hartley led the attack with 20 kills, the first time this season he has gone over 20 kills and just the second time in his career. The last time, he put away 30 kills against Lewis. Hartley managed a .366 clip (20-5-41) with a service ace and an assisted block.
Classmate Greg Herceg had nine kills to go with eight digs, a solo block and three assisted blocks. Middle attackers Kevin Owens and Matt Leske added seven and six kills. Owens had six assisted blocks while Leske had four assisted blocks. Leske was able to knock in three service aces.
Junior Graham McIlvaine had 39 assists to go with seven digs, five kills and three assisted blocks. McIlvaine did not commit an attack error off his seven attack attempts. Libero Tommy Rouse got under 13 digs to go with four assists.
The first set was close in the beginning of the set with the Cardinals taking a slight 15-13 lead heading into the media timeout. Ball State scored points off two Herceg kills, a Hartley-Leske-Herceg block, and a Leske-Witmer block to force Lewis to call a timeout with BSU up 20-16. The Flyers would not get closer than three for the rest of the set and ended the set with consecutive attack errors to give the Cardinals the 25-18 win.
The second set was riddled with service errors with the Cardinals committing seven errors. A kill by McIlvaine caused Lewis to call a timeout as Ball State faced a set point at 24-20. From there a Flyer kill and Cardinal attack error caused Ball State to call a timeout up 24-22. Ball State would call its final timeout after a Greg Petty kill with the score in favor of BSU 24-23. Lewis was able to take the set with two attack errors and a service ace.
Coming out of intermission, both teams battled every point back and forth. The Cardinals were down 4-3 when Leske went back to the service line. A service ace and back-to-back Hartley kills brought the Cardinals up 6-4. The Cardinals would take a familiar lead heading into the media timeout, this time at 15-13. Ball State did not look back the rest of the set and took the 25-18 win.
McIlvaine served six-straight points to open up the fourth set causing Lewis to call a timeout with Ball State up 6-0. The Cardinals cruised the rest of the way, never allowing the Flyers to get within five points. Owens would get the match-clinching kill.
As a team, Ball State hit .356 (48-12-101) while Lewis managed a .144 clip (49-30-132). The Flyers, who is the top blocking team in the nation, managed only four total team blocks while the Cardinals dominated with 11.5 total team blocks.
Lewis was led by Jay Petty with 12 kills while Eric Fitterer and Yiwei Zhou registered eight kills.
Ball State will wrap up the regular season with Loyola-Chicago on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The match will also be Senior Night where Jamion Hartley, Greg Herceg, Tommy Rouse and Dan Wichmann will be honored. The match will also be televised by Ball State Sports Link. You can follow the team on Twitter at @BallStateMVB or on Facebook at “Ball State Men’s Volleyball”.