Ball State Men’s Volleyball Set to Clash with No. 1 Ohio State and McKendree to Kick off MIVA Action

Game One

12 Ball State vs. 1 Ohio State

Thursday, Feb. 2 (7:30 p.m.)

Muncie, Ind.

Live Stats: http://www.sidearmstats.com/ballstate/mvball/

Live Video: http://ballstatesports.com/watch/?Live=10

Game Two

12 Ball State vs. McKendree

Saturday, Feb. 4 (7:30 p.m.)

Muncie, Ind.

Live Stats: http://www.sidearmstats.com/ballstate/mvball/

Live Video: http://ballstatesports.com/watch/?Live=12

MUNCIE, Ind. – The No. 12 Ball State men’s volleyball team is set kick off conference action as they clash with Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association foes Ohio State and McKendree. The Cardinals will take on No. 1 Ohio State Thursday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Worthen. Ball State will look to take down the Bearcats on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Scouting Ohio State and McKendree:

The Buckeyes come to Muncie, 9-0, only losing three total sets so far this season. Miles Johnson is currently first in the MIVA with 4.34 kills per set. Nicolas Szersen is right behind him in second with 4.07 kills per set.

McKendree is 5-6 overall and 1-0 in the MIVA, after defeating Lindenwood. Zach Thompson currently leads the MIVA in digs per set (2.45) and in total digs (98). The Bearcats also have an athlete in the MIVA top five in five different categories.

Last year’s meetings:

The Cardinals and Buckeyes met twice last season, splitting the matches, 1-1. In February 2016, Ball State brought home a victory after defeating Ohio State, 3-2 (14-25, 16-25, 25-23, 25-11, 18-16). Mike Scannell knocked down 13 kills along with seven blocks. Mitch Weiler tallied 12 kills, 13 digs and one ace. Anthony Lebryk led the team in the first meeting with nine blocks. The two teams clashed again in March, this one going to Ohio State, 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 22-25, 15-25). Brendan Surane led the Cardinals with 13 kills, three blocks and seven digs. Edgardo Cartagena had nine kills and five digs. Mitch Weiler knocked down nine kills and added seven blocks and two assists.

Ball State and McKendree  met three timess last season. The first match went to the Cardinals. 3-2 (23-25, 22-25, 25-15, 15-7). Surane led the team in kills with 15. Weiler had 12 kills and 15 digs. Other top performances from that match were Matt Walsh with seven blocks and one ace, Alex Pia with 11 kills and three blocks, Cartagena with 15 digs and one assist. The second one also went to Ball State, 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-20, 25-22). The Cardinals had 54 kills, 21 total blocks, and 29 digs in the win. The two teams met for the last time in April in the first round of the MIVA tournament. The Bearcats defeated the Cardinals for first time in the six times the teams have met, 3-0 (18-25, 23-25, 23-25). Weiler had nine kills and five digs in the post-season play. Cartagena added six kills, six digs, two assists and one block.

Cardinal Facts:

Ball State enters this week’s matches fourth in the country in team attacks per set with 28.09. The Cardinals are right behind Saint Francis who averages 28.14 attacks per set. Matt Walsh is also ranked nationally, sitting at second in blocks per set with 1.29.

After the first nine matches of the season, the Cardinals are first in total blocks (94) and first in blocks per set (2.69) in the MIVA. Ball State is second in the conference in kills per set (12.69), in assists per set (11.66), in digs (320) and in digs per set (9.14). The Cards are third in the MIVA in kills with 444, only three behind Lewis, and third in attack percentage with .305.

In the record books:

Preseason All-MIVA selection Matt Walsh put down 15 kills for an impressive .684 attack percentage in last week’s action. Walsh also knocked down 12 blocks and tallied 1.50 blocks per set. Walsh’s name can be found all over the Ball State volleyball record books (during rally scoring). He is sixth in attack percentage (.401), sixth in blocks per set (1.26), ninth in block assists (266 through 231 sets), ninth in total blocks (290) and tied for 18th in solo blocks (24).

Senior Alex Pia also has stamped his name in the record books (during rally scoring). Pia is ninth in career blocks per set with 1.05 through 167 sets. He is also 16th in career block assists (171) and 20th in total career blocks (176). Pia is two away from passing Surane and moving into 19th place.

With his 29 kills in the two matches last weekend, senior Brendan Surane moved into 13th in school history (during rally scoring) 595 career kills. Surane is 17th in school history (during rally scoring) in career solo blocks with 25. He is also 13th with a career attack percentage of .286 and 16th with 2.18 kills per set (through 273 sets).

Connor Gross took his place in the record books, sitting at eighth (during rally scoring) in career assists with 566 through 69 sets. Last week, he had 74 assists, 12 digs and two kills. The senior setter has 347 assists in the first nine matches of the 2017 season.

Junior Mitch Weiler racked up 81 kills, 22 blocks and 51 digs in the first nine games of action. Weiler leads the team in career digs with 262. He is also 18th in school history (during rally scoring) with 1.46 digs per set (through 179 sets).

For the most up-to-date news on the Ball State men’s volleyball team, please follow @BallStateSports and @BallStateMVB.

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