In a back-and-forth match which saw the Cardinals go to extra points, No. 11 Ball State Men’s Volleyball (5-4, 1-0 MIVA) was able to hold off Harvard (1-5, 1-0 EIVA) for its first road victory this season.
The Cardinals improved to 4-0 all-time against the Crimson with the win. The team is now on a three-match winning streak.
A balanced offense proved to be key for the Cardinals. Senior outside hitter David Siebum would lead in kills with 18, followed by freshman outside attacker Kaleb Jenness with 17. Jenness would also lead the team with a .519 hitting percentage.
However, the Crimson would jump out of the gate quickly to win the first set, 25-22.
“The first couple of games we didn’t serve very well,” head coach Joel Walton said. “We knew that was going to be a challenge heading in.”
Much similar to Saturday’s victory over Ohio State, the second set was when the tables began to turn. Siebum’s energy would secure a 25-19 victory for the Cardinals, who would score six of the final nine points to win the set.
In a tight third set, the energy junior setter Matthew Ctvrtlik and freshman outside hitter Eric Li of the Crimson would force extra points. Three consecutive kills from Siebum would give the Cardinals the 27-25 victory in set three.
“Siebum took some really big swings for us,” Walton said. “His offense was pretty important to what we accomplished tonight.”
The Crimson did not go down without a fight, taking set four, 25-23, to force a fifth set. Li would end the match with 16 kills while Ctvrtlik would lead the Crimson in assists with 46.
Despite the momentum on both sides, 21 attack errors would prove costly for the Crimson, as Cardinals would take the fifth set 15-8, and the match 3-2 off a kill from junior middle attacker Lemuel Turner.
“There’s always room for improvement, but I’m thrilled that we got the win,” Walton said. “Harvard is a good team and they provided some serving challenges, and tonight they played a player who they haven’t played in a while. They provided a very quick tempo on offense which was a challenge for our team to adjust to.”
As the Cardinals conclude their road trip tomorrow at Sacred Heart, Walton said he is hopeful for more success after tonight’s outcome.
“We’re on the road, so our guys need to be ready to step on the court and battle,” Walton said. “It’s not going to be easy, and we’re only going to get what we’re willing to work for.”