Ball State Men’s Volleyball Returns to Conference Action at McKendree and Ohio State

Game One

11 Ball State at McKendree

Thursday, Mar. 23 (7 p.m.)

Lebanon, Ill.

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

Live Video: http://www.glvcsn.com/mckendree/

Game Two

11 Ball State at 2 Ohio State

Saturday, Mar. 25 (7 p.m.)

Columbus, Ohio

Live Stats: http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/gametracker/launch/gt_mvolley.html?event=1514363&school=osu&sport=mvolley&camefrom=&startschool=&

MUNCIE, Ind. – The No. 11 Ball State men’s volleyball team returns to MIVA action this weekend with matches against McKendree and Ohio State. The Cardinals will take on the Bearcats in Lebanon, Ill. on Thursday, March 23 at 7 p.m. Ball State will then travel to Columbus, Ohio and try to hand Ohio State their first conference loss of the season. First serve is set for 7 p.m.

Past meetings:

Ball State and McKendree met three times last season. The first match went to the Cardinals, 3-2. Brendan Surane led the team in kills with 15. Mitch 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, and Edgardo 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. The two teams met for a third time in April in the first round of the MIVA tournament. The Bearcats defeated the Cardinals for the first time in the six times the teams have met, 3-0. Weiler had nine kills and five digs in the postseason play. Cartagena added six kills, six digs, two assists and one block.

McKendree came to Muncie in February and fell to the Cardinals, 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-16). Surane led the way led the way with 16 kills for a .625 hitting percentage. Matt Szews had a team high eight digs along with 10 kills and two service aces. Anthony Lebryk had eight kills and four block assists. Parker Swartz tallied four kills while Weiler added three.

The Cardinals and Buckeyes met twice last season, splitting the games 1-1. In February 2016, Ball State brought home a victory after defeating OSU, 3-2. 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. Brendan Surane led the Cardinals with 13 kills, three blocks, and seven digs. Edgardo Cartagena had nine kills and five digs. Weiler knocked down nine kills and added seven blocks and two assists.

Ball State fell to the Buckeyes earlier this season, 3-0 (25-29, 25-19, 25-22). Szews had 14 kills while Surane added 11. Connor Gross tallied 34 assists. Adam Wessel led the team with seven digs.

Cardinals Facts:

As a team, Ball State is nationally ranked in three categories. The Cardinals are fourth in the nation in blocks per set (2.55), fifth in team attacks per set (27.92) and fifth in opponent hitting percentage (.203). Individually, Matt Walsh is nationally ranked in two categories. Walsh is second in the nation in blocks per set with 1.25 and third in hitting percentage with .470.

Going into this week’s matches, the Cardinals are first in two categories in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Ball State is first in digs per set (9.14) and blocks per set (2.55). The Cardinals are second in the MIVA in kills per set (12.49) and second in assists per set (11.58). Ball State sits in the third place spot in the conference in hitting percentage (.290), digs (704), block assists (327) and total blocks (197).

Edgardo Cartagena had big performances in the matches against UC Irvine and UC San Diego. Cartagena had six kills and three digs against the Anteaters. He added seven kills for a .286 hitting percentage and eight digs in the sweep of UC San Diego.

 In the 2017 season, the Cardinals have knocked down 962 kills for 12.49 kills per set. Their opponents have only knocked down 867 kills for 11.26 kills per set. Ball State also has 33 solo blocks this season and 327 block assists.

 Ball State sits at eighth in the first RPI rankings of the season.

In the record books:

Freshman Matt Szews leads the team with 275 kills and 3.67 kills per set. His 3.67 kills per set also places him third in the MIVA while his 275 kills puts him fourth. Szews tallied 11 kills and two service aces against No. 6 UC Irvine. In the Cardinals’ sweep of UC San Diego, Szews led the team with 10 kills for a .304 hitting percentage. He added one service ace and nine digs in that contest too. For his performances in those two matches, Szews was named Off the Block National Player of the Week for the second time this season. He is now 14th in school history (during rally scoring era) in hitting percentage with .285.

Preseason All-MIVA selection Matt Walsh sits at second in the MIVA with 1.25 blocks per set and second in hitting percentage with .470. Walsh’s name can also be found all over the Ball State volleyball career record books (during rally scoring). He is sixth in attack percentage (.404), sixth in blocks per set (1.25), fourth in block assists (306), sixth in total blocks (337), 13th in service aces (50) and 10th in solo blocks (31).

Senior Alex Pia also has stamped his name in the record books (during rally scoring). Pia is 10th in career blocks per set with 1.02 through 187 sets. He is also 15th in career block assists (184) and tied for 18th in total career blocks (190).

Senior preseason All-MIVA selection Brendan Surane moved into ninth in school history (during rally scoring) with 705 kills. Surane is also 17th (during rally scoring) in career solo blocks with 27 along with an eighth place spot in service aces (63). He is also 16th with a career attack percentage of .278, 14th with 2.26 kills per set, 17th in block assists (172) and 15th in total blocks (199).

Connor Gross took his place in the record books, sitting at seventh (during rally scoring) in career assists with 1,012 through 111 sets. Last week, he had 59 assists, 9.83 assists per set along with 12 digs, one block and one service ace. The senior setter has 793 assists so far this season. He averages 10.57 assists per set, placing him second in the conference.

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

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