RECAP: Ball State men's volleyball vs. No. 12 George Mason
No. 13 Ball State won three sets in a row after dropping the first to cruise to a 3-1 (30-32, 25-15, 25-16, 25-19) victory over No. 12 George Mason to improve to 7-1 on the season.
Senior outside attacker Brendan Surane led Ball State with 21 kills and 10 digs, which are both season highs. Surane also added five blocks and an ace to help the Cardinals increase their winning streak to five games.
"That's the kind of player we want Surane to be," head coach Joel Walton said. "Connor [Gross] did a nice job of getting in a rhythm tonight and helped put Surane in some good spots."
Kills: Brendan Surane — 21
Assists: Connor Gross — 46
Digs: Adam Wessell — 12
Blocks: Brendan Surane, Matt Walsh, Alex Pia — 5
Service Aces: Matt Szews — 2
Ball State led 24-23 late in the first set, but George Mason forced a few Ball State errors and made some key blocks to take the first set in Worthen Arena, 32-30.
"I think the first set was just us getting used to them a little bit," Walton said.
Walton said George Mason senior outside attacker Jack Wilson is "one of the East Coast's elite attackers," and Wilson recorded eight of his 10 kills in the first two sets. Ball State was able to slow him down, which led to more opportunities for the Cardinals.
"We know he's a good player and we wanted to be able to minimize what he was going to do against us," Walton said. "We were making it difficult for him to put the ball away."
The Cardinals only trailed for a total of two points in sets two and three. Senior setter Connor Gross said their ability to pass well helped Ball State to take control of the match.
"Our guys are just great passers and great attackers all around," Gross said. "When guys are passing that well, our offense just runs really smoothly and we were really focused tonight."
George Mason led 6-3 early in the fourth set, but Ball State went on a 3-0 run to tie the score and the Cardinals would only trail once (7-6) for the rest of the match. Surane had six of his 21 kills in the fourth set.
"He's our biggest arm," Gross said. "For me, it gives me a lot of confidence going to [Surane] knowing that he's probably going to get a kill — he's a guy I like to go to when we need something."
Ball State was also led by junior outside attacker Mitch Weiler, who finished with 14 kills and three digs, freshman outside attacker Matt Szews, who finished with nine kills and five digs, and junior middle attacker Matt Walsh, who finished with eight kills and five blocks.
"You look at the stats and it was a really good team win," Surane said. "If we can keep playing this well as a team, we're going to be really tough to beat."
Ball State will finish up the week at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27 against New Jersey Institute of Technology (3-2).