MEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Ball State needs five games to win critical MIVA match at Lewis

Cardinals win game 1, 2 before Flyers extend match to five games

Revenge is sweet, but for the No. 15 Ball State University men's volleyball team it wasn't pretty. Ball State traveled to Lewis University Tuesday night and avenged an earlier loss to the Flyers by claiming a 3-2 (30-24, 31-29, 28-30, 23-30, 15-13) win over Lewis.

"It was definitely a roller coaster, but we came out on top on the end," coach Joel Walton said.

Ball State lost to Lewis 3-2 on Feb. 26 with the fifth game determined by two points. Tuesday night was the same story with the Cardinals instead surviving 15-13 in the game five.

"We remembered when we played them at home," middle attacker Anders Nelson said. "So it feels good to return the favor. We wanted to do what they did to us."

Lewis had an 11-10 lead in game five before Ball State went on 4-0 run to take control of the deciding game. With a 14-11 lead, Ball State won the match on a kill from outside attacker Larry Wrather, who had two of Ball State's final five points. Outside attacker Dominic Spadavecchio also made up for a critical service error in game five with a kill in Ball State's run.

Flyers' setter Mike Landolo was coming off an ankle injury that he sustained in a practice last month, so senior setter Ethan Pheister took advantage. The Cardinals held a 66-51 edge in assists.

"We passed very well tonight," Nelson said. "Ethan gave me really good sets tonight."

Walton said the Flyers were able to stay in the match with a 26-10 advantage in blocks.

"Our outside attackers got blocked a bunch," Walton said. "As you get into this stage of the season they know what our hitters want to do and we know what their hitters want to do."

Nelson led both teams in kills with a 18, setting a career high.

Libero Billy Ebel, who won the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Defensive Player of the Week award for the fourth time this season on Monday, followed it up with match-high 14 digs against the Flyers. Ebel said he and fellow senior Eric Schulte tried to fire up the team for game five.

"Once in a while a guy has to get meant to get guys motivated," Ebel said. "And me and Schulte stepped into that role to get our guys focused for game five."

With the win, Ball State moves to 15-9 (6-4 MIVA) and has surpassed Lewis in the standings 16-8 (5-5 MIVA). Ball State has not clinched No. 3 seed as Lewis still owns the tiebreaker.

"It was a big win for our team," Nelson said. "And we hope we can carry the momentum the rest of the season."


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