Heading on the road to play the No. 1 ranked team in the nation is how Ball State Men’s Volleyball spent their opening night for the 2023 season.
In a four-set match, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (1-0, 0-0) took down the Cardinals (0-1, 0-0) in what is now the fourth match between the two programs in the last calendar year, with Ball State winning the first two in Worthen Arena and the Rainbow Warriors winning the third match in the semifinal of the NCAA Men’s Volleyball tournament.
In this chapter of what appears to be a budding rivalry, what came out of it?
Even though Ball State came into the match as the No. 6 team American Volleyball Coaches Association national rankings, Hawaii is the defending national champion and they showed exactly why.
Junior opposite Spyros Chakas tallied a game-high 19 kills for the Rainbow Warriors. His .405 hitting percentage was a part of the team average of .402 compared to the Cardinals, .320 hitting percentage.
The same of Chakas can be said of third-year outside hitter Chaz Galloway, who got up in the air multiple times en route to his 14 kills and .462 hitting percentage.
Along with third-year middle blocker Guilherme Voss’ 11 kills, Ball State found difficulty in stopping Hawaii from scoring.
Newcomers stand out
Thursday was the Ball State debuts for first-year opposite Keau Thompson and second-year outside hitter Tinaishe Ndavazocheva who both gave valuable minutes to the Cardinals as starters.
Both finished in the top three for Ball State in kills with Ndavazocheva’s 11 and Thompson’s eight.
However, Ndavazocheva left Thursday’s contest with an undisclosed injury.
Following the departures of members from last year’s final four team, the Cardinals looked to have reloaded for the 2023 season for the most part.
Genesis of Jenness
Graduate student and outside hitter Kaleb Jenness entered this season as one of two Ball State players on the preseason All-MIVA team, alongside graduate student and middle blocker Felix Egharevba and Jenness looked every bit of the part.
Jenness’ team-high 18 kills gave a spark to the offense when needed and his presence was felt on the defensive side with three of his blocks making up the team’s 10 total.
Jenness managed to have a game-high nine digs with another game-high of 39 total attacks for a .385 hitting percentage
Hawaii and the Cardinals lock up again at midnight EST to finish out the first weekend of the 2023 season.