MEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Cards searching for right lineup

Team to use different lineups in two games this weekend

The setter is Graham Mcllvaine. The libero is Tommy Rouse. The middle blockers are J.D. Gasparovic and Anders Nelson.

That much is certain.

But when it comes to the outside attackers for the Ball State men's volleyball team, the starters are on a match-to-match basis.

Dominic Spadavecchio, Larry Wrather, Greg Herceg, Lee Meyer and Marcus Imwalle, all outside attackers for Ball State, have each played at least 11 games in six matches this season.

With its matches today against Pfeiffer and Saturday against Limestone at Worthen Arena, coach Joel Walton said Ball State will continue to tinker with its lineup.

"I think each week we're learning more about each outside's strengths and maybe ways to match them up against each opponent that we may be facing," Walton said. "The reality of the position is we've got four guys in Imwalle, Meyer, Spadavecchio and Wrather who are all capable starters. They all can go out and put up good numbers on a given night."

Wrather currently leads the team with 3.06 kills per set, well ahead of second place Herceg, who averages 2.47 kills per set. However, Wrather also has the second lowest hitting percentage on the team at .186.

Imwalle has an average of only 1.73 kills per game, but also had eight service aces against Sacred Heart on Jan. 29. Spadavecchio and Meyer both average fewer than two kills per set and have a hitting percentage under .200.

But Nelson said he had no preference on who plays at outside attacker.

"All of the guys who are getting playing time right now have played before, so it's not like we're going through with a lack of experience," he said. "It's just whoever is out there, it just puts a little pressure on them to bring their ‘A' game to stay on the court, and hopefully it brings out the best in all of our outsides."

Walton said he has seen improvements in Ball State's offense since playing George Mason and Sacred Heart a week ago, particularly in one major area of concern.

"We're serving more and more the way I want our team to serve as we go through the season," Walton said. "I was frustrated with our offense against George Mason, but we've got a first-year setter, and our hopes for him are that he continues to improve as our season goes along."

Ball State will take its first home game since Jan. 8 today at 7:30 p.m. today.



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