Senior outside attacker Shane Witmer hits the ball during the game against Quincy on Jan. 30 at Worthen Arena. DN PHOTO ALAINA JAYE HALSEY
Cardinals sweep Hawks in conference opener
The Ball State men's volleyball team opened conference play Friday with a 3-0 win against Quincy at Worthen Arena.
Both squads entered the match playing consistent defense, but the Cardinals held the advantage on the offensive end, with a .321 attack percentage to the Hawks .258.
In the end, Ball State's offense proved too much, posting a .382 attack percentage.
The Cardinals took advantage of a slow start by the Hawks, with junior outside attacker Marcin Niemczewski leading the way on his 20th birthday.
Niemczewski finished the game with nine kills on 15 attempts and a .533 attack percentage. He also registered an ace, an assist and six defensive digs.
"What we like about Niemczewski is he's able to go up and kill the ball at a good consistency," Ball State head coach Joel Walton said. "He blocks really well, and he plays good backcourt defense. All aspects of his game he's doing a good job with."
The Cardinals won the first set 25-16, posting a .417 attack percentage compared to the Hawks' .100.
Ball State continued to dominate the match in the second set, despite the near identical score of 25-17, finishing the set with a .500 attack percentage.
"The one way that Quincy was going to stay with us was if they could get their serve going," Walton said. "I was very pleased with the way Matt Sutherland played tonight. He was putting the ball right on the money and our offense was running at great efficiency."
Sutherland's reception percentage was flawless for his 18 attempts on the night. He also finished the game with seven kills, a .267 attack percentage, one assist and four digs.
The Cardinals finished their sweep, taking the third set 25-14.
Ball State returns to action Jan. 31, hosting Lindenwood at 7:30 p.m.
"I know Lindenwood is a great opponent," Walton said. "They have some guys who are going to come into tomorrow with everything they've got, trying to knock us off."