Three days after facing the same squad in Columbus, Ohio, Ball State Men’s Volleyball (15-2, 7-1 MIVA) hosted Ohio State (9-11, 3-3 MIVA) in Worthen Arena March 19.
After defeating the Buckeyes in five sets March 16, the Cardinals beat the Buckeyes by scores of 26-24, 25-16, 23-25 and 25-22 respectively. Head coach Donan Cruz said Ball State didn't lose its confidence despite dropping the third set.
“We played well,” Cruz said. “Even after losing set three, I thought the good news going into [set] four was our guys didn't look shaken up by it.”
Graduate student opposite hitter Angelos Mandilaris, senior outside attacker Kaleb Jenness and senior outside attacker Nick Martinski spearheaded the Cardinals attack, combining for 35 kills while graduate student setter Quinn Isaacson totaled 38 assists.
“We played a better overall game [tonight],” Jenness said. “We wanted to not get outworked this time. On Wednesday, we thought we got outworked by their defense. They got really scrappy, got a lot of balls and made some good plays. We worked really hard on the coverage and the digs and played a better game.”
Graduate student libero Colin Ensalaco had a team-high seven digs while Mandilaris and senior middle blocker Felix Egharevba combined for 16 blocks.
“Angelos and I, we are very vocal in the way we communicate on a blocking,” Egharevba said. “For example, today we were kind of getting beaten on the inside. I said ‘Hey, ‘Los, I trust you bro. Let's just calm down and do what we do best.'”
The match was preceded by a celebration of life for 1952 and 1956 Ball State graduate and former men’s volleyball head coach Don Shondell.
Hosted by the Shondell family and Ball State University, friends, alumni and colleagues gathered to remember the legacy Shondell had built in Muncie, Indiana, and across the country.
“Don Shondell was a friend to Ball State, an icon in our Muncie community and a pioneer in the sport of volleyball," Ball State University President Geoffrey S. Mearns said in a press release after Shondell's death. “Through his extraordinary contributions to our university and the sport, his unmatched legacy lives on in so many of our current and past student-athletes. We are deeply indebted to Dr. Shondell for the impact he made on so many lives - as a coach, teacher and friend to us all.”
Shondell founded the men’s club volleyball team in 1959 before working to make it a varsity sport in 1964. In his 34 years coaching the Cardinals, Shondell earned a career record of 769-280-6, the second-most wins by a head coach in NCAA men’s volleyball history, while winning 20 Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) titles and 13 NCAA tournament berths.
Shondell was a co-founder of the MIVA conference and served as its first president while earning eight coach of the year awards. He also served as president of the United States Volleyball Association (USVBA).
While being elected into the Ball State Athletics Hall of Fame (1983) and the International Volleyball Hall of Fame (1996), Shondell is also the namesake for the Dr. Don Shondell Practice Facility, which was dedicated in 2018.
Ball State completed its first season-series sweep against Ohio State for the first time since 2014 and Cruz reflected on the moment with gratitude after the match.
“To be able to have so many people in the stands today and get like a visual of the magnitude he had on different lives in the volleyball community, it is just mind-blowing,” Cruz said.
The Cardinals travel to Quincy University (4-12, 0-8 MIVA) March 25 for their next match. The first serve is 8 p.m.