Senior Matt Walsh hits the ball over the net during the second game at John E. Worthen Arena against Quincy University on March 31. The Cardinals defeated the Hawks in three games. Rebecca Slezak, DN
Dorgan shines in starting role, No. 12 Ball State men's volleyball sweeps Quincy
Freshman outside attacker Ryan Dorgan followed up his heroic effort from Friday night by tying for the team lead in kills during Ball State men’s volleyball’s (15-11, 8-4 MIVA) 3-0 sweep (25-18, 25-18, 25-16) of Quincy (12-16, 0-12 MIVA), but the numbers were the last thing on his mind.
“To be honest with you, the stats don’t matter to me; we got the win,” Dorgan said. “Jake [Romano] was setting a great game too, and we couldn’t have done it without our middles; our middles played great. We blocked amazing. We served very well again tonight. ... Stats don’t matter. I just try to do what helps the team win.”
What was on Dorgan’s mind was how much fun he had with his teammates in his first start, replacing an injured Matt Szews.
Ball State Statistical Leaders
Kills: Ryan Dorgan, Ben Chinnici (9)
Digs: Ryan Dorgan (7)
Service Aces: Matt Walsh, Ryan Dorgan (2)
Total Blocks: Ben Chinnici (5)
“I love these guys,” Dorgan said. “From my visit, I’ve loved these guys; I fell in love with the university. It’s so much fun stepping out there and competing. I just love winning. Winning is what I want to do. That’s what I’ve always strived for. ... It’s incredible the bonds I’ve made in however long I’ve been here. ... It’s crazy how close we are, and I just love playing with them.”
That love has shown in the matches in which Dorgan has received extensive playing time. After each block, kill or point, Dorgan brings the energy into the team’s huddle, and the whole team feeds off it.
“It makes a difference for sure,” freshman Ben Chinnici said. “To have a player like Ryan who comes on the court, and when he gets a kill, he’s just screaming, just bringing that crazy energy kind of makes you smile, and you can’t help but love it. ... I think it’s great; it brings the team up and keeps the team up the whole time, so it’s a big help.”
That energy led to the team dominating a much less suspenseful match than what took place in Worthen Arena Friday night against Lindenwood. This time around, Ball State controlled all three games.
“I think we were pretty consistent most of the night,” head coach Joel Walton said. “Our numbers weren’t spectacular, but we did a good job focusing, and I thought our guys understood what our game plan was and — for the most part — were in good places on the court.”
Ball State didn’t look like it was having any of an upset attempt in the opening set. The game was close until the score stood at 10-9 in favor of the Cardinals, but they quickly began to pull away. Ball State went on to outscore Quincy 15-9 to win the set, 25-18. Ryan Dorgan carried over his momentum from Friday, finishing the opening set with six kills and two total blocks.
Set two was almost a mirror image of the first. Once again, Ball State held a 10-9 lead before it pulled away. The Cardinals then went on a 6-1 run to all but put the set out of reach. A David Siebum service ace sealed the game by a score of 25-18 in favor of the hosts. At the half, Ball State held a .259 hitting percentage and held Quincy to just .017. The wall of Ball State was looking like a force through two games, recording 8.5 total team blocks.
The Cardinals made quick work of the third and final set. Ball State quickly doubled up Quincy, flying out to a 14-7 lead. Two consecutive service aces from Matt Walsh eventually put the score at 22-13 in favor of the hosts, and Ball State went on to finish off the set, 25-16.
Ben Chinnici tied with Dorgan for the team lead in kills with nine, and he said the sweep was less stressful than Friday night’s thriller against Lindenwood.
“I think there’s a fun factor in both [five-set matches and sweeps],” Chinnici said. “In that fifth set [Friday], that’s kind of something athletes live for is to compete at that level, but also to have more of a calm night like tonight where you’re kind of in the lead the whole time and feel like you’re in control is a little more relaxing and less taxing.”
Overall, the numbers weren’t staggering. Dorgan led the team in digs with seven and added a pair of service aces to tie with Matt Walsh for the team lead. Chinnici led the team in total blocks with five.
The wall of Ball State forced Quincy to hit a -.033 hitting percentage, racking up 10.5 total team blocks. The Cardinals finished with seven service aces.
Ball State will return to Worthen Arena Friday, April 6 for a rematch against McKendree. The match is set to start at 7:30 p.m.