After almost a week off and some key starters resting, the No. 8 ranked team in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA), Ball State Men’s Volleyball returned for another weekend of home matchups inside Worthen Arena.
Friday saw the Cardinals (3-2, 0-0) host and sweep Queens University of Charlotte Royals (1-5, 0-0) in a return match for two fifth-year starters. Outside attacker Kaleb Jenness and middle blocker Felix Egharevba reappeared in the lineup after missing last Saturday’s five-set win over Tusculum.
“It felt great,” Egharevba said. “It’s just a minor setback with a major comeback so I have that mentality to keep going and keep pushing and keep doing everything I need to do to stay healthy,”
The matchup started with a dominant Ball State showing in the first set.
The Cardinals had more than double the same amount of kills as the Royals and despite committing the same amount of errors, Queens was in the negatives for hitting percentage.
“We put an emphasis on blocking and defense and I thought that it fueled every part of our game,” head coach Donan Cruz said. “On the service lines, guys are really getting back there and putting some velocity with accuracy and for us, that is a big part of our game.”
Jenness’ run of five straight serves, two of which were aces, was the apex of this hot start by Ball State.
“When you have key guys you want to see them on the court,” Cruz said. “Sometimes we’re limited by the volume and we make sure we’re managing their bodies and today, not only our starters but our guys around them were excited to have Felix and Kaleb back.
Set two showed much of the same as the first set. The Cardinals managed to commit zero attack errors to the Royals’ five attack errors.
Ball State’s offense had another high-octane set, as their .722 hitting percentage was almost seven times as much as Queens’ .182 hitting percentage.
The Cardinals kept up their barrage with three more service aces in the third set, one of which came from first-year libero Mason Connor who got minutes alongside first-year setter Griffin Satterfield.
“Mason has been doing really well with serving,” Cruz said. “With Grif [Satterfield], being a freshman and he’s been doing a lot of good things in training, so we definitely wanted to get them a look and a taste of what it is like to step out on the court.”
In terms of total points, Ball State outscored the Royals 75-45 and played a much more efficient match than Queens.
The Cardinals are at Worthen Arena for a Saturday evening matchup with Sacred Heart at 5 p.m.
Contact Corbin Hubert with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @corbin_hubert_