Ball State men’s volleyball player Jake Romano sets the ball during the first game against Loyola University on Feb. 17 at John E. Worthen Arena. Romano had two aces, three blocks, 44 assists, and 13 digs during the four games. Briana Hale, DN
Jake Romano earns MIVA Defensive Player of the Week for 2nd straight time
Jake Romano has been setting his team up for success recently.
For the second time in as many weeks, the sophomore setter was named the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Defensive Player of the Week.
The Racine, Wisconsin, native has been contributing in many ways for No. 11 Ball State men's volleyball. Romano finished with season highs in both digs (19) and assists (48) in the team's win over Lindenwood last weekend. In a win at Quincy, the sophomore reached a season-high in kills with four. Romano also added 11 digs, two blocks and 41 assists in the match.
Romano season highs
Romano's performances were key factors in propelling Ball State to third in the nation in digs per set with 10.23. During the team's four-match winning streak, he has totaled 57 digs, nine total blocks, six service aces and 163 assists. With Romano's performances helping the team pick up a lot of momentum in the past two weeks, Ball State has climbed up to a season-best position in the AVCA Coaches Poll, reaching No. 11 this week.
Head coach Joel Walton knows that Romano's versatility has been vital to the team's success during its recent stretch.
"Any time you have a player that does something well outside of his role ... it improves the likelihood that they're going to be a starter for you, first of all, but it also gives an extra boost to what the team is trying to accomplish," Walton said. "So Jake's back-to-back performances defensively are critical to our team, and it's an important part of why we've won some matches."
No. 11 Ball State will ride its wave of momentum to the West Coast over spring break, where it'll play road matches against UC San Diego, No. 13 Concordia Irvine, No. 4 UC Irvine and No. 15 UC Santa Barbara. The first of those matches is scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. against UC San Diego.