Cardinals survive late push from Tusculum behind Phillips’ career-high 16 kills

“I’ve been waiting a long time,” third-year outside attacker Trevor Phillips said.

With fifth-year middle blocker Felix Egharevba and fifth-year outside attacker Kaleb Jeness unavailable, Phillips provided a boost on offense for Ball State Men’s Volleyball Saturday, with his career-high and team-high 16 kills.

“I’ve been behind a lot of great guys in the last two to three years,” Phillips said. “I was told I was going to start tonight and I wanted to do my best.”

Early in the match, it seemed as though it would be the second straight sweep for the Cardinals (2-2, 0-0), who were up two sets to none on Tusculum (2-5, 0-0).

In the third set, Tusculum took advantage of 10 attack errors and four service errors committed by Ball State and took the set.

This momentum for the Pioneers carried over into the fourth set, who edged out another set point to tie up the match at 2-2.

The set four loss for the Cardinals was highlighted by another 16 total errors. 

Ball State had over .100 hitting percentages in the first two sets, while the next two sets saw the Cardinals fall below the .100 hitting percentage mark and barely surpass the .100 hitting percentage mark.

“Good win,” head coach Donan Cruz said. “But Tusculum played exceptional. Every single thing you could do well, they did really well and hats off to [Tusculum head coach] Bryan [Buckius] and his crew because they really challenged us.”

The fans inside Worthen Arena came alive for the fifth and final set. Tusculum ended the match with the same number of kills as they had attack errors as Ball State held the Pioneers to a .000 hitting percentage.

“Really needed that [win],” Phillips said. “It is super hard to adjust to the different level of play when you are coming off playing the No. 1 team in the country, so we did find that challenging, but we came back and got two wins.”

The Cardinals are home again next weekend for another set of Friday and Saturday matches. Friday’s match against Queens University of Charlotte, which is in its first year in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA), begins at 7 p.m. while Saturday’s match versus Sacred Heart University starts two hours earlier, at 5 p.m.

Contact Corbin Hubert with comments at or on Twitter @corbin_hubert_.


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