MUNCIE, Ind. - The Ball State men’s volleyball team travels up travels up I-69 to take on intrastate rival IPFW for the 97th meeting between both schools. The Cardinals are coming off a 3-0 win at home against McKendree University. Fifteen Cardinals saw playing time in the match led by Marcin Niemczewski who had 10 kills. Freshman Mike Scannell added seven kills off a .667 attack percentage (7-1-9) while red-shirt senior Larry Wrather also registered seven kills.
Scouting Ball State
The Cardinals (2-3) most recently swept McKendree University at home on Friday, Jan. 24. Fifteen Cardinals got playing time on the night including freshman Mike Scannell who had seven kills, a solo block and an assisted block in two sets of action. Sophomore Marcin Niemczewski leads the offense so far on the year with 55 kills.
Senior setter Graham McIlvaine has 145 assists on the year and is creeping up on becoming number seven on the all-time Ball State assists category. He holds a 9.67 assists per set average. Senior middle hitter Matt Leske leads the blocking unit for Ball State with 1.06 blocks per set. Classmate Kevin Owens threw up a solo block and three assisted blocks against McKendree and has a 0.94 blocks per set average.
No. 14 IPFW is 3-1 on the year and is coming off a 1-1 weekend. The Mastodons started of the 2014 season picking up a win against then No. 15 California Baptist 3-1 (19-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-22). IPFW then swept Sacred Heart at home before dropping a road contest to then No. 12 Penn State 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-23). IPFW then drew a 3-1 win against Saint Francis.
The Mastodons are hitting a .364 (193-52-387) as a team and have a balanced offensive attack with five players with over 30 kills on the season. Setter Omar Rivera has 160 assists on the year while Eddie Rivera leads in digs with 29. Elon Fyfield has 10 total blocks for a 0.71 blocks per set average.
Series with IPFW
The series against IPFW goes back to the 1978 season and Ball State holds the all-time advantage in the series at 69-27. The Cardinals also hold a mark of 31-13 in Fort Wayne. Ball State picked up two of the three meetings with IPFW last season. The Cardinals knocked the Mastodons out of the MIVA Tournament last season when Ball State swept IPFW at Worthen Arena.
Senior setter Graham McIlvaine is 10 assists away from being seventh in program history in career assists. Heading into Friday’s match, McIlvaine has 2,144 assists and trails Dave Carlson (2005-06) who has 2,153 career assists.
The Last Time Out
The last time the Cardinals and the Mastodons squared off was in the MIVA Semifinals last season when Ball State came out on top, 3-0. Jamion Hartley and Greg Herceg had 11 and eight kills while Graham McIlvaine, Matt Leske and Kevin Owens each added five kills. Ball State dominated the net with 14 team blocks to IPFW’s five.
Newcomers Earn Playing Time
Fifteen Cardinals saw time in Ball State’s 3-0 win against McKendree on Friday, Jan. 24, including five newcomers. Sophomore setter Hiago Garchet and freshman setter Connor Gross both got to play a set each against the Bearcats. Garchet picked up 10 assists while Gross added six. Sophomore outside hitter Mike Scannell had an efficient night with seven kills off nine attempts for a .667 attack percentage. Freshman middle hitter Alex Pia played two sets and earned two kills, a dig, a solo block and two assisted blocks. Freshman outside hitter Brendan Surane added two kills.
The Cardinals are on Twitter at @BallStateMVB. Be sure to use the hashtag #BSUMVB all season long to join the conversation. The team also has a Facebook account, be sure to like “Ball State Men’s Volleyball” for updates and pictures.