Andrew Mishler

Ball State couldn't have picked a better way to honor Don Shondell.

In a night that kicked off the Don Shondell/Active Ankle Challenge, Ball State came out with a fury of energy and toppled No. 9 Penn State on Worthen Arena Friday 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-22).

Senior J.D. Gasparovic, who earned his first win over the Nittany Lions in his career, said the win would have a lasting impact on the Cardinals' season.

"It's phenomenal," he said. "They're a great team. We just wanted to come out with the mindset on getting some energy going into the MIVA and go all out and play with no fear."

The match ended Ball State's 12-match losing streak to Penn State and moved its overall record to 18-10.

Gasparovic stonewalled Penn State's attackers for much of the night, finishing with 10 blocks. He also hit three kills.

Sophomore outside attacker Larry Wrather led the Cardinals in kills with 10, while fellow outside attacker Jamion Hartley finished close behind him with nine. Hartley also ended the match with a .375 attack percentage.

Coach Joel Walton said he was happy his team didn't let Penn State back into the match.

"When you've got a bully on the block, the way to beat them is to punch them in the nose and don't let them get up. The guys did a nice job tonight staying focused and not letting Penn State back into the match."

The Cardinals managed to contain Penn State's top attacker, Joe Sunder, for most of the night. Ball State grounded Sunder at a .222 attack percentage, well below his season average of .381. 

Senior Lee Meyer had an all-around successful match, with five kills, a .308 success rate, seven blocks and seven digs.

Ball State will close out the Active Ankle Challenge today with its regular season finale against St. Francis at 7:30 p.m. at Worthen Arena as a part of Senior Day.

The match will honor seniors Anders Nelson, Marcus Imwalle, Dominic Spadavecchio, Gasparovic and Meyer.