For multiple players on the Ball State men's volleyball team, the match against IPFW on Saturday turned out to be one for the record books.
Ball State (6-4) swept IPFW 3-0 (26-24, 25-21, 25-18) in Fort Wayne, marking the 13th-ranked Cardinals' third straight win decided by a 3-0 score. Coach Joel Walton praised his coaching staff for the dominating victory.
"Coach (Kevin) Furnish put in a really good defensive game plan," Walton said. "Coach (Jim) Palilonis did a really good job with our offense tonight. We were firing on both cylinders."
Ball State's win included personal records for many players on the team.
Outside attacker Greg Herceg set multiple career highs against IPFW, including two solo blocks, eight total blocks and six block assists. Herceg also led the Ball State attack with seven kills.
Middle blocker Anders Nelson also had a career-high of his own with 10 block assists. Outside attacker Lee Meyer and freshman setter Graham McIlvaine joined in as well, setting career-highs with six total blocks each.
Ball State's total of 21.5 blocks in the match was a season-high.
"Our blocking tonight was exceptional," Coach Joel Walton said. "Sometimes when we play Fort Wayne, they run a lot slower tempo with high sets to the outside, and that gets our block out of sync. Tonight our guys had really good timing and we got a lot of hands in front of the right places."
IPFW entered the match at a disadvantage to Ball State, as one of its best attackers, Elon Fyfield, sat out with an injury. Fyfield's absence proved to be difficult to overcome for the Mastodons.
"They looked uncomfortable most of the night," Walton said. "They jumped out to an early lead, but once we were able to come back and win that first game, we just made it very difficult for them the rest of the night."
Ball State's win followed a close 3-2 loss to Lewis on Friday night, which was the Cardinals' first conference match of the season.
Even in victory, the outcome of the weekend wasn't what Walton had in mind.
"I was hopeful we could go into this weekend and steal two matches on the road, so I'm disappointed that we weren't able to accomplish that goal," Walton said.
Ball State will take on sixth-ranked Ohio State this Friday in the hopes of ending its eight-game losing streak to the Buckeyes. Ball State will then face Loyola on Saturday.