Block party helps Cardinals sweep George Mason

Three games for Head Coach Donan Cruz in Worthen Arena, three sweeps.

Ball State Men’s Volleyball (3-0) defeated George Mason (2-2) Jan. 21 by scores of 25-11, 25-18 and 25-10. Graduate student opposite hitter Angelos Mandilaris said the Cardinals used a balanced approach.

“I think everything went well,” Mandilaris said. “Our serving pressure was there, our passing was there, our setting was there. We didn't have a lot of hitting errors. We put the ball down.”

In the victory, Ball State totaled 13.5 blocks, 12.5 more than the Patriots. Senior outside attacker Nick Maritnski and senior middle blocker Felix Egharevba led the Cardinals wall, combining for 17 blocks.

Ball State men's volleyball head coach Donan Cruz hold a volleyball during the game against George Mason University on Jan. 21, 2022, at Worthen Arena in Muncie, IN. Amber Pietz, DN

“I think the game plan went really well,” Martinski said. “We watched a lot of film and we had a good game plan of what we want to do depending on what rotation they were in, and I think we just executed really well.”

Outside of the blocking performance, Mandilaris and graduate student Quinn Isaacson recorded season-highs, as Mandilaris smashed 16 kills and Isaacson had 40 assists.

“I think that we definitely feel good about the scout [team] we put together,” Cruz said. “Coach Mike [Iandolo] and coach Christian [Rupert] put a lot of time into being able to see what was in front with George Mason. For us, it's just about us making sure we can follow the pace of the game and understand all of our roles. But yeah, impressive what the guys did.”

The Cardinals host No. 1 Hawaii (4-0) in a doubleheader Jan. 29 and 31, with first serve at 7 p.m. The Warriors won the 2021 NCAA Championship, but Cruz said Ball State must prepare the same way they prepare for every game.

“That's got to be the mentality,” Cruz said. “Ensuring that we're not putting too much weight on the fact that we're playing a defending champion. For me, my experiences have been that when you start to do that, you lose a little distraction from the volleyball piece of it. I think we'll just kind of go in the same mentality and trust that what we're doing is going to work.”

Contact Daniel Kehn with comments at or on Twitter @daniel_kehn.


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