That’s the word freshman outside attacker Kaleb Jenness used to describe Ball State Men’s Volleyball (3-4, 0-0 MIVA) in its 3-2 victory over California State Northridge (5-2, 0-0 Big West) Saturday. The match saw the Cardinals snap a four-match losing streak in their fifth consecutive contest against a ranked opponent.
Jenness, whose 16 kills led the Cardinals, said he was ecstatic with his team’s performance, and support from his coaching staff played a huge factor in the victory. He would end the Don Shondell Active Ankle Challenge with a total of 38 kills in two matches.
“There were a lot of big plays, lots of energy on the court and so much support,” Jenness said. “We had a little lapse, and we were making some of our own errors, but we had a nice talk with our coaches, and this helped us buy in.”
Jenness also played a strong role defensively as his eight blocks were second on the team behind junior middle attacker Lemuel Turner.
Head coach Joel Walton said he was proud with Jenness’ efforts and glad to see greater consistency surrounding him.
“Kaleb continues to play beyond his freshman year,” Walton said. “He’s doing a good job swinging at balls in system, swinging at balls out of system. We just want to keep him playing the way he is and keep the support.”
Set one began with a similar start to Friday’s match against UC Santa Barbara. The Matadors started the game on a four-point run and won the set, 25-21.
“You don’t ever want to roll over against an opponent, and the fact that we didn’t close the gap in game one gave us a little more momentum going into game two,” Walton said.
The Cardinals responded by winning sets two and three, 25-21 and 25-23, respectively. The second set saw Matadors senior outside hitter Dimitar Kalchev record his 1,000th career kill.
Kalchev’s .400 hitting percentage played a key role for the Matadors who took set four, 25-21.
In a fifth set which saw three timeouts, three kills from Jenness and four from junior outside attacker Blake Reardon gave the Cardinals a 15-13 win and the 3-2 victory.
“I think we generated some offense,” Walton said. “We talked about it last night but couldn’t do it consistently. Reardon was a huge part of that tonight by coming off the bench.”
Jenness said the win helped prepare him for his first career conference matchup, which will take place Saturday against No. 11 Ohio State at Worthen Arena.
“I’m really excited,” Jenness said. “We have a good group, and we’re just getting started.”
Contact Connor Smith with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @cnsmithbsu.