MUNCIE, Ind. –
As the first week of school rolls on and students get settled in for the semester, incoming Ball State men's volleyball freshman Kaleb Jenness will do so after an impressive summer.
Jenness, a native of Mount Pleasant, S.C., made a summer trip to Florida where he won the USA National Beach Tour Junior Championship in the U18 Boy's Division. The Ball State newcomer teamed up with North Greenville University player Christian Phung.
"We're really excited about Kaleb," said head coach Joel Walton
. "Kaleb is a tall athlete capable of playing multiple positions and has a very broad skill set. I think it's awesome that he's been playing in the sand. Beach doubles is a game that exposes weaknesses quickly because you're touching the ball so often. So, for him to win while teams were looking for his weaknesses, it says a lot about his overall game and how talented he is."
The duo went undefeated throughout the entire competition on their way to bringing home the title. This included sweeping six of seven matches, along with the championship match where Jenness and Phung won 21-11 and 21-12.
The 6-foot-6 freshman joins the Cardinals after a solid club volleyball career. Jenness was unable to play high school volleyball due to it not being a varsity sport in the state of South Carolina. However, he is now the first person from his home state to play Division I men's volleyball.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, graduated and former BSU volleyball star, Matt Walsh
, signed to play professional volleyball in the Czech Republic. He joined club Aero Odolena Voda and began training this summer. To find more information on the club, visit its home page here: https://www.volejbalov.cz/
"We've had a number of guys from Ball State who have gone on to play professionally, but Matt Walsh
being a pro is a no brainer," Walton said. "It takes a certain level of ability to turn pro. You're not going to get paid unless you know how to play high-level volleyball. It's great recognition for our program for him to go on and play professionally overseas. I think he's a player who could still work his way back to the USA pipeline and join the national team program."
Walsh was a four-time letter winner for Ball State and was an All-MIVA first team selection as both a junior and senior. The former Cardinal also received All-MIVA second team honors as a sophomore. He finished his career sixth on the all-time kills list at BSU with a career total of 809. His 95 service aces were the second best in Ball State history, as were his 504 career blocks.
To follow Walsh and his career in the Czech Republic, follow him on Twitter at @Mwalsh00.
For all the latest on Ball State men's volleyball, visit BallStateSports.com and follow @BallStateMVB on Twitter.