No matter who was on the court playing for Ball State on Friday night, they were playing well.
Ball State swept Pfeiffer 3-0 (25-14, 25-12,25-22) at Worthen Arena with a mixture of young and experienced on the court to improve to 4-3 on the year. All 14 of Ball State's available players on the roster received playing time in the match.
The Cardinals' bench didn't squander its opportunities. Freshman middle blocker Kevin Owens entered the match for senior Anders Nelson midway through the second game and immediately made an impact, scoring two quick kills on his first two attempts.
In addition, seldom-used players such as freshmen Derek Menendez and Urim Demirovski made appearances for Ball State in the second and third sets.
While the starters played the entire first game, earning a .346 attack percentage, it was the reserves that shined for the Cardinals. Ball State shot a .545 attack percentage in the second set, which was played by a majority of bench players.
Coach Joel Walton said he glad to get all of the players on the roster onto the court
"I wanted to get some other guys in as we could, but it really was dependent on how well the first unit played," he said. "The guys came out very focused for a game and a half, and it gave me the opportunity to start working some other guys in."
Owens said it was great to finally step onto the court as a part of Ball State men's volleyball team.
"It felt really good," Owens said. "I've been working hard in practice. Obviously we have two great middles in Anders and J.D. (Gasparovic), so I think playing next to them has really helped my game."
Junior outside attacker Dominic Spadavecchio added that Owens had been anxious to get playing time since the start of the season.
"I know Kevin Owens has been telling me all year, ‘I really want to get on the court, I really want to get on the court,'" Spadavecchio said. "To see him to get two quick kills at the end of that (second) game was really exciting."
Outside attackers Greg Herceg and Jamion Hartley led the Cardinals in the match with six kills apiece. Hartley scored his kills on only seven attempts, all of which came in the final set.
Sophomore setter Dan Wichmann came into the game in the second game for freshman Graham McIlvaine and dished on 21 assists on 36 attempts. Walton said Wichmann was due for playing time.
"Talking with our coaching staff, we wanted to get Dan Wichmann some significant time tonight because he hasn't played much since we had our opening weekend at home," Walton said. "And he's doing a great job. Dan's a very good setter, and we knew we wanted to make that change in game two."
Ball State played in front of a home crowd for the first time since its match against Lindenwood on Jan. 8. Walton said it was refreshing to show Worthen Arena the improvements his team had made since then.
"We've seen through the course of the season so far our team improving, and I feel we're starting to see a group of guys that give us a lot of different options offensively and defensively," Walton said. "As we saw tonight, we still have some guys on the bench that, when given the opportunity, they can come in and help us. I'm glad that our guys showed Muncie what we've been working on since playing here in early January."
The Cardinals will return home tonight to play against Limestone at 7:30 in Worthen Arena.