RECAP: Ball State men's volleyball gets strong support from reserves in win over McKendree
No. 12 Ball State men's volleyball only trailed for one point of its 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-16) victory over the McKendree Bearcats.
The Cardinals were led by senior outside attacker Brendan Surane, who finished with 16 kills and five digs. Surane, who came into the match averaging three kills per set, finished with an average of 5.3 kills per set.
"Against Ohio State, there were definitely some things we could have improved on and we know we could've played a better game," Surane said. "It's just all about the next match and being able to turn it around and focus on what you want to get done and we did that tonight."
Kills: Brendan Surane — 16
Assists: Connor Gross — 37
Service Aces: Matt Szews — 2
Digs: Matt Szews — 8
Blocks: Anthony Lebryk and Parker Swartz — 4
The Cardinals played without junior middle attacker Matt Walsh, but several players stepped up in his place. Junior middle attacker Anthony Lebryk finished with a career-high eight kills and five blocks and sophomore middle attacker Parker Swartz finished with four kills and a career-high four blocks.
"Lebryk and Swartz came on tonight and played well and took advantage of some opportunities," head coach Joel Walton said. "It's nice when we can get some guys to come in off the bench and perform at a high level and that's what we had tonight."
Ball State finished with a .430 attack percentage and hit .500 in set two.
"I think [senior setter] Connor Gross did a really nice job of running our offensively tonight and we knew there were some places on McKendree's defense that we wanted to attack," Walton said. "[Gross] was able to distribute the ball really well and we ran the back row through Brendan Surane and he hit some good shots."
The Cardinals are mostly stoic on the court, but freshman outside attacker Matt Szews and Gross doubled as playmakers and hype men tonight for Ball State.
"I love being able to feed off their energy," Lebryk said. "When [Szews] gets all of those big kills it gets us on the court going, it gets the bench going and it just makes volleyball fun and enjoyable."
McKendree (5-8, 0-2 MIVA) was led by junior outside attacker Nolan Rueter with 13 kills and three digs and senior opposite Maalik Walker who finished with 10 kills and three digs.
The Cardinals will have one more home match against Fort Wayne at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7 before hitting the road for five straight matches.