Taking a bus an hour and a half south on I-69, Purdue Fort Wayne Men’s Volleyball (8-5, 2-1 MIVA) did not have to travel far for their Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) matchup against Ball State Men’s Volleyball (9-1, 3-0 MIVA) Feb. 17.
The Cardinals started hot, winning the first set 25-21, but lost the next two sets 26-28 and 23-25 respectively.
“That’s what makes volleyball so fun to watch,” Ball State head coach Donan Cruz said. “You can really be flat and then out of nowhere just kind of turn a corner and that really happened for us.”
It was a tight game all the way through the fifth set, and with tensions high, senior outside attacker Kaleb Jenness picked up a rare volleyball occurrence, earning himself a yellow card warning from the officiating crew.
“Yeah, usually I'm not that aggressive,” Jenness said. “I'm pretty passive and don’t like to talk to refs, but I was really frustrated, especially in close game. We were really confident we did touch that ball. I watched it. It was really high, but you can't get everything. Obviously we got unlucky and we battled through and we won.”
Jenness continued, saying that he was not intentionally aiming any hostility at the referee, but just exclaiming frustration.
The Cardinals were able to win set four 25-20 in order to keep the game alive despite the lack of whistle luck.
“There's a couple calls that we thought maybe didn't go our way and it's hard to close the door on that,” Cruz said. “I thought we kind of had some fire ending [set] three and then I think after that it was crazy.”
Jenness had a team and career-high 31 kills in the victory, as graduate student setter Quinn Isaacson topped the Cardinals in assists and digs with 59 and 17 respectively.
Set five was a heavy-sided affair in Ball State’s favor as the home team won by nine points to win the set 15-6 and claim the match victory 3-2.
The date of the game was somewhat serendipitous, as sophomore opposite hitter Dyer Ball’s father, Lloy Ball, was celebrating his 50th birthday.
Lloy, who attended Purdue Fort Wayne from 1991-1995, was in attendance to see his son defeat his alma mater.
“It was awesome,” Dyer said. “We saw the schedule come out and [I] was like ‘oh we're playing them here on his birthday.’ We got the win, and I’m glad we did, and I got to play which was awesome.”
Dyer had 12 kills in the victory, level with graduate student middle blocker Will Hippe. Including Jennes, three players hit double digit kills against the Mastadons.
The Cardinals will host Loyola University Chicago Feb. 19 at 3 p.m. at Worthen Arena.
Contact Daniel Kehn with comments @firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @daniel_kehn.