It was a successful night for Ball State Men’s Volleyball (10-2, 4-1 MIVA) at Worthen Arena as the Cardinals defeated Lindenwood (3-7, 1-4 MIVA) in four sets. After their loss against Loyola Chicago, head coach Donan Cruz said it was important to get a win.
“[A] little ‘loss hangover’, but really good to get over that,” Cruz said. “For us to play a lot cleaner in the second half of that match was so much better.”
The Cardinals started off slow, dropping the first set 25-22, but went on to win the following three sets by scores of 25-20, 26-24 and 25-21, respectively. Graduate Student libero Colin Ensalaco said that winning the third set was the turning point for Ball State.
“All of our gears were turning, all cylinders were firing,” Ensalaco said. “Once you win that third set and go up 2-1, you get a sense of relief, sense of confidence. You can just play a little bit freer in that fourth set.”
After not starting in the previous five matches, freshman outside attacker middle blocker Vanis Buckholz returned to the starting lineup and contributed six kills.
“That’s great for us,” Cruz said. “He was really slow to start set in one and set two and then finally in set three and four [he] made some blocks and scored some points… For us to be able to have him back as an option is really critical for our offense.”
However, as one attacker returned, one was missing with senior middle blocker Felix Egharevba not playing due to what Cruz described as a mixture of a foot injury and load management.
“He’s kind of nurturing a foot [injury], but more of it was just knowing we could win with [Will] Hippe and Vanis too," Cruz said.
Senior outside attacker Kaleb Jenness, graduate student opposite hitter Angelos Mandilaris and junior outside attacker Bryce Behrendt combined for 47 kills.
Along with his kills, Behrendt drew eyes in a rare way, his shoe. It appeared that Behrendt’s shoelace was failing him in the first set.
“About three points in the game I was like ‘dude, my left shoe is so loose right now,’ and I looked down and the entire like front of it just ripped,” Behrendt said. “Coach came up to me was like, ‘okay, and next time we get a timeout, I got a shoelace for you.’ Then in between sets, our trainer was nice enough to retie that for me.”
Behrendt thanked his teammate, sophomore libero Lucas Pytlak, for providing the donor shoelace.
Ball State will return to the court at Worthen Arena in 24 hours’ time, facing Quincy University at 7 p.m.
Contact Daniel Kehn with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @daniel_kehn.