Junior outside attacker Marcin Niemczewski hits the ball during the game against Ohio State on Feb. 21 at Worthen Arena. DN PHOTO ALAINA JAYE HALSEY
Ball State men's volleyball wins 3-1 on Senior Night
All three of Ball State men’s volleyball seniors were on the floor at the start of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Senior Night matchup against McKendree.
Ball State won 3-1 against McKendree and moved to 18-6 overall and 10-2 in conference play this season.
The night didn’t start with honoring the seniors, however. This year’s Senior Night celebration was different from years past because it was held after the match rather than before. The three seniors honored were setter Hiago Garchet and outside attackers Marcin Niemczewski and Jack Lesure.
Head coach Joel Walton had been through the night before, but said he will miss what each of his seniors bring to the team.
“It’s hard every year. You go through a journey with each of the athletes that go through your program,” Walton said. “Each guy brings a different personality; each guy brings a type of thing to the team.”
The different "things" Walton discussed were leadership from Garchet, energy from Lesure and elevation from Niemczewski.
Niemczewski started the Cardinals off with a lead on a kill from the right side.
Following the point, McKendree sophomore outside hitter Jared Wilcox didn’t seem surprised; he turned to his teammates and said, “I told you number 15 was the go-to. I told you.”
Niemczewski finished the night with 14 kills, a service ace and both four digs and blocks.
“It’s a good feeling, it was a team effort,” Niemczewski said. “I just got a lot of balls set to me that I was able to put away. … It feels good.”
After Ball State got off to a 9-3 lead in the first set, McKendree head coach Nickie Sanlin called a timeout.
The Bearcats came within 3, but the Cardinals finished the first set the way it began, with a right-side kill from Niemczewski.
Ball State had its most commanding victory in the first set, winning 25-18.
While Ball State never lost its lead in the first set, the second set was a different story.
“It wasn’t until the second game until some things started to go wrong,” Walton said. “We kept missing serves and opportunities for us to score points, and that became too much for us to overcome.”
Eight tie scores and three lead changes ended up favoring McKendree, as it won 25-22 moving into the break.
Both Ball State and McKendree forced each other into timeouts in the third set. McKendree’s timeout came while it trailed 14-7, which was followed by Ball State’s timeout while leading 14-11.
Set three would eventually end with Ball State winning 25-20.
With a tied 12-12 fourth set, Lesure returned to the match and delivered one of Ball State’s three aces.
The fourth set looked similar to the second with eight tie scores and four lead changes, but in the final set, Ball State walked away with the 25-22 victory.
Moving forward, Ball State has four more MIVA matches, all of which are on the road.
Ball State’s next match will be on April 1 against Quincy on the road, followed by an April 3 match against Lindenwood.