After a four-set win over McKendree (12-9, 7-1 MIVA) Feb. 12, No. 7 Ball State men’s volleyball (18-2, 10-1 MIVA) only needed three sets to get the job done March 31.
The Cardinals swept the Bearcats by scores of 25-17, 27-25 and 25-20 respectively and continued to keep the offense efficient with a .367 hitting percentage.
“It starts with passing,” graduate student setter Quinn Isaacson said. “Obviously, when we can be on the net and in system, it’s easy for me to run this offense. We have an old squad. I’ve set some of these guys four years now, Will Hippe [for] five years, it makes it really easy. We have a strong connection so when we pass well we score well and it’s hard to really stop us.”
Senior outside attacker Kaleb Jenness topped the Cardinals with 15 kills while Isaacson dished out a team-high 37 assists.
On the defensive side of the ball, Isaacson lead in digs with nine while senior middle blocker Felix Egharevba had four blocks.
Head coach Donan Cruz said the performance was a positive one against the Bearcats despite a close second set.
“That’s a really good team and for us to come out and play that well, that clean, I think that’s really the takeaway for us,” Cruz said. “Our guys are able to be really consistent and execute which really helped. Aside from set two, I thought we really controlled the match.
By defeating the Bearcats, Ball State now has a two-win lead over second place Loyola Chicago (14-7, 8-2 MIVA) in Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MVIA) standings. The Cardinals will host the MIVA conference tournament if they remain first through the end of the regular season.
“[Hosting the tournament], It’s our main goal,” Isaacson said. “I mean you start there and you slowly figure out those future outcome goals, but we’ve still got to take it one game at a time. It’s not locked in. There’s a lot of things to look forward to for this team so we can’t look past any matchups.”
A new face was in the Worthen Arena for Ball State as new men’s basketball coach Michael Lewis was welcomed by the crowd in the second set. Lewis was hired from UCLA where he went 68-29 with the team as an assistant coach over three years.
“Anytime Ball State, not only in the Athletic Department but at the University, adds someone of his caliber and talent, I think it’s just good news for everybody,” Cruz said. “We wish him the best of luck here… he’s in a great place.”
Ball State will return to the court April 2, hosting Lewis University (13-10, 5-6 MIVA) at 5 p.m.
Contact Daniel Kehn with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @daniel_kehn.