It was senior night for Ball State men’s volleyball (19-2, 11-1 MIVA) against Lewis University (13-11, 5-7 MIVA) April 2 as seven Cardinals took to Worthen Arena for possibly the final time.
After sweeping the Flyers Feb. 10, Ball State completed the same feat with scores of 25-19, 26-24 and 25-20 respectively.
“We gave our seniors a shot to represent the team tonight and they came in and did amazing,” head coach Donan Cruz said. “We got to keep it going with this group and just remember that every win matters.”
Graduate student opposite hitter Angelos Mandilaris led the Cardinals in kills with 19 as graduate student setter Quinn Isaacson had a team-high 37 assists, senior middle blocker Felix Egharevba held the tape with five blocks and graduate student libero Colin Ensalaco backstopped the defense with nine digs.
“Our passes were really good, our setting was really good, I was excited to be here and do good,” Mandilaris said. “I was just swinging the ball and it work out well.”
Mandilaris, Egharevba, Ensalaco, Isaacson, graduate student Will Hippe, senior outside hitter Nick Martinski and senior outside hitter Brandon Shepherd were all recognized in a ceremony after the match along with long time student manager David House.
“I will always miss Worthen,” Shepherd said. “The fans, the environment, is just impeccable. I felt great tonight on the court and we felt the support of the fans.”
Despite only spending two years with the program, Mandilaris said he was grateful for the growth he experienced with the Cardinals.
"I grew a lot here as a person and as a player," Mandilaris said. "I had a lot of challenges here but I managed to overcome them. So yes, the place is a special place in my heart."
With only two matches left in the season, both away, Cruz said Ball State needs to focus on staying consistent and playing with energy.
"Just taking care of the ball on our side of the net and just high energy," Cruz said. "There was a moment where we made a scramble in step three, and there's no way we're going to get the ball but Angelos, Martinski and Colin chased it down to the bleacher 30 feet away. That kind of mentality is a really big deal for us to be able to execute a play like that and have that type of mentality. Those are the things that are going to really carry us far in the postseason."
Ball State will head out on the road for their final two matches of the regular season, facing Loyola Chicago (15-7, 9-2 MIVA) April 7 before finishing their season against Purdue Fort Wayne (14-10, 5-6 MIVA) April 9 at 7 p.m.