Freshman outside attacker Kaleb Jenness’ high school didn’t have a boy’s volleyball team, but his 14 kills and .588 hitting percentage Friday led Ball State Men’s Volleyball (1-0, 0-0 MIVA) to a sweep over Princeton (0-3, 0-0 EIVA) to start the season.
Head coach Joel Walton was not only pleased with Jenness’ numbers, but he also said his performance solidified him as a key offensive contributor going forward.
“Kaleb worked really hard in the fall and earned that position tonight,” Walton said. “As a freshman, people are going to start to see him on video and figure some things out, but it’s nice to have one more solid outside attacker on our group.”
Jenness said his performance was based primarily on adrenaline and the fact that this was his first collegiate match.
“It’s nice having a really good team to practice with,” Jenness said. “I’m a freshman, so I have nothing to lose.”
In addition to Jenness’ debut, junior outside attacker Matt Szews was also an important contributor on offense, putting up 12 points. Junior setter Jake Romano led in the assists category with a total of 30 in all three games.
The Cardinals won the first set by a score of 25-22 with a .591 hitting percentage. Building off their momentum, the Cardinals would also win the second set 25-21 with 15 kills. The third set saw the Tigers hold multiple leads, but the Cardinals bounced back with a 25-18 victory to sweep the match, 3-0.
The Cardinals led the Tigers in every category with the exception of blocks as both teams were tied at five. Freshman middle attacker Felix Egharevba had a perfect hitting percentage on the night.
Walton said the team is prepared for its next contest after its first victory.
“I think NJIT is going to provide a more diverse offensive rhythm,” Walton said. “NJIT has a lot of guys that they’re returning from last year, so they’re pretty junior-senior heavy. We just need to be focused and ready to go.”
The Cardinals will play New Jersey Institute of Technology Saturday at 7 p.m. in Worthen Arena.
Contact Connor Smith with comments at or on Twitter @cnsmithbsu.