“It was very nice to be back in the home arena with all our fans on a big night with Munciana [Volleyball Club] and Muncie supporting,” fifth-year outside attacker Kaleb Jenness said. “We all felt very comfortable in our home gym and we were happy to see everyone here.”
Jenness, alongside second-year outside hitter Tinaishe Ndavazocheva tied for a team-high 12 kills and were a big part of No. 12 Ball State Men’s Volleyball’s offense in their sweep of Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) rival No. 15 Ohio State.
Third-year opposite Dyer Ball provided assistance on the offensive side of the net as well, with his 11 kills.
Ball and second-year middle blocker Vanis Buckholz were big presences on the net for defense, tallying two blocks apiece.
On a night when Ball State was honoring the 50-year anniversary of Munciana Volleyball Club, the Cardinals (12-7, 5-2 MIVA) reinforced Muncie’s reputation as a national hub for volleyball by capitalizing on the Buckeyes (11-9, 4-3 MIVA) 15 total errors and allowing 36 kills to their 41 en route to the win.
“When you start scoring and moving a fast-paced game, unless you are counter-attacking at the same efficiency, it can be tough to match the energy,” head coach Donan Cruz said. “Ohio State is a great team but I think we had a good night.”
This was the first match for Ball State since their West Coast road trip ended on March 8, in which they went 1-2 with losses coming to No. 4 Long Beach State and No. 5 Grand Canyon and their one win came against UC San Diego.
“I feel like going out west really helped us get in the right mindset and really helped us understand things we need to get better at,” Cruz said. “The guys put the work in over the last 72 hours to prepare for Ohio State, so it was good timing.”
Cruz claimed one of the reasons the Cardinals were so effective was passing. Fourth-year setter David Flores notched 31 assists for Ball State, helping dish the ball at every turn.
Despite sweeping the Buckeyes at home, the Cardinals must venture out to Columbus, Ohio Saturday for a rematch with the Buckeyes, this time at their home venue.
“It’s gonna be the same thing, but on their end so we just gotta keep our focus and our consistency on our side,” Jenness said. “Just keep playing our game and we should be good.”