Friday night at Worthen Arena was the first-ever meeting between No. 15 Ball State and King College, and it's a match that King College would most likely care to forget. The Cardinals swept the Tornado 3-0 (30-15, 30-24, 30-19).
Ball State cleared their bench as 12 Cardinals saw playing time, the highest number this season. Typical starters were cheering on freshmen players in game three, where the match was well in control – specifically, middle attacker Matt Leske, outside attacker Greg Herceg and setter Dan Wickmann. The bench cheered once Wickmann's nickname "the Candle" was introduced over the loudspeaker.
"We were able to work a lot of guys into the match and maintain a high level of play," coach Joel Walton said.
Leske, a freshman, had his first start and finished second on the team in kills with seven.
"I haven't had a chance to play a whole match," Leske said. "So it was nice to get a lot of playing time and work out some stuff."
Outside Attacker Lee Meyer led the match in kills with eight despite only playing two games. The 6-8 junior had a size advantage as the tallest player on the Tornado is 6-5. King College is a young team from the upstart Conference Carolinas as there is only one senior on their roster.
Despite being the favorite, players knew not to take King College for granted.
"We've had some bad history looking down some teams," Herceg said. "We just wanted to make sure we came out focused and gave them our best game because they deserve it."
The Cardinals had eight service aces on the night as the Tornado only scored two.
"Probably a little more pace than they are used to in their conference play," Walton said. "Might be the fact that this is the first time in Worthen Arena and this is a little more space than they are use to."
The serving carried over to the blocking as Ball State had a 14-6 edge in blocks. Ball State held King College to a negative attack percentage of -.022.
"We had a good idea of where we wanted to our block to set up," Walton said. "And our team did a good job getting to those spots."
Middle attacker Anders Nelson did not see action as Walton said he rested him because of his strained back.
Ball State moves to 16-9 and stays at 6-4 in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Ball State closes out its non-conference schedule tonight in Worthen Arena versus Saint Francis University.