MEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Ball State sweeps Belmont Abbey
Cardinals roll D-II school for third straight win
Belmont Abbey came out firing in a system that Ball State was not prepared to defend. All the tape Walton and his assistants studied of the Crusaders showed them running a non-traditional two-setter offense, but when the teams took the court Belmont Abbey never showed that look Walton said.
“They were a much different team on tape,” Walton said. “But I think used their best setter, and he gave them some good opportunities.”
This system shock, coupled with a fired up Belmont Abbey team forced a side-out battle throughout the first set. Eventually Ball State was able to pull out the set on a three-point run.
The next two sets saw the Cardinals play to the level that allowed them to beat the No. 10 team in the country last week, and didn’t give the Division-II Crusaders a chance.
The Cardinals hit .340, and held the Crusaders to .098.
Offensively the Cardinals were lead by senior outside hitter Greg Herceg’s 15 kills. Herceg’s offensive night was reminiscent of earlier this season when he ranked third in the nation in kills per set. Since fellow offensive juggernaut senior Jamion Hartley joined the starting lineup Herceg’s individual stats have diminished, though the team is 3-0 in that time.
“Greg looked a little more comfortable, but I thought Graham [McIlvaine] gave him a lot of good balls to hit,” Walton said. “He just hit well.”
Also crucial for Ball State were its ever consistent middles senior Matt Leske and Kevin Owens. Both had two solo blocks, and Leske had eight kills and hit 1.000 and Owens had seven hitting .429.
With another match less than 24 hours away, Walton did not have many negatives to say about his team’s third straight win.
“We played well, and won a 3-0 sweep on the road,” Walton said. “We just just have to get ready for tomorrow now.”