No. 13 Cardinals sweep Quincy on the road, notch 4th straight victory

Ball State’s 3-0 loss to McKendree earlier this month was one of its most lopsided setbacks of the season. It did not derail the Cardinals’ growth, however, as their road win over Quincy marked the red and white’s fourth-straight triumph since then.

Junior middle blocker Vanis Buckholz goes to spike the ball against Hawaii Jan. 28 at Worthen Arena. Buckholz scored five points in the game. Mya Cataline, DN
Junior middle blocker Vanis Buckholz goes to spike the ball against Hawaii Jan. 28 at Worthen Arena. Buckholz scored five points in the game. Mya Cataline, DN

Ball State’s loss to McKendree on Feb. 9 was the first 3-0 setback to an unranked opponent of head coach Donan Cruz’s tenure in Muncie. The Cardinals’ most lopsided defeat since the opening week of the campaign did not signal the start of a mid-season slump; rather, it ignited a streak of success.

The red and white secured victories in three key Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) contests following their loss to McKendree, highlighted by wins over in-state rival Purdue Fort Wayne and nationally ranked Loyola Chicago last week. Ball State rolled over its momentum into this week’s only match Friday night.

The 13th-ranked Cardinals defeated Quincy (5-6, 1-6 MIVA) in three sets (25-15, 25-12, 25-20) on the Hawks’ home floor to record their fourth-straight win — tied for the red and white’s longest winning streak of the season.

“We took that one against McKendree personally,” Cruz said. “We understand that we're not gonna be able to walk into a gym and win without 100% effort. I think our guys have been able to translate the right things in the last few weeks coming off of that loss.”

Ball State’s win not only furthered its winning streak as it also added to a considerable run of historical success against Quincy. The Cardinals have now captured 18 consecutive wins against the Hawks, with their last loss against the MIVA opponent coming in 2015.

Now more than a third of the way through its MIVA schedule, Ball State has collected two sweeps in six conference matchups. The Cardinals’ swift victory over Quincy marked its most decisive win against a league opponent in 2024, as they outscored the Hawks, 75-47.

The red and white built their victorious effort on the foundation of aggressive offensive play, which it displayed from the opening point of the match — which ended in a kill from Tinaishe Ndavazocheva. Ball State tallied 13 terminations at an efficient .600 hitting percentage in set one, and its hitters did not relinquish their pressure in the following frames.

The Cardinals registered 39 kills at a .451 clip across the three sets of action, marking the fourth-consecutive match in which the red and white have hit above the .300 line. Junior Tinaishe Ndavazocheva’s 15 kills and sophomore Patrick Rogers’ 11 kills paced their squad’s scorching offense, and they each hit over .500 in the process.

“We're much more mindful of how we attack the ball,” Cruz said. “When we weren't hitting well, part of that was that we were disconnecting, but also we would just try to force offense that wasn't there. Now, we're much more thoughtful.”

Ball State’s defense was also central to its winning performance, as it logged six blocks and 27 digs. The Cardinals’ defensive corps, however, will not leave Quincy at full strength. Vanis Buckholz, who missed five of the last six matches due to a knee injury, fell onto the floor midway through the third set and required assistance to walk toward the bench.

“In set three, he came down and twisted his right ankle,” Cruz said. “We'll get a closer look at that over the weekend to see what the status is, but right now it's a sprained ankle.”

Though the Cardinals have not found many free points at the service line this season, with just nine aces coming in their last five outings, the red and white’s service pressure yielded a great deal of scoring Friday night. Ball State dropped in six service aces, an effort led by Rogers, who logged half of the Cardinals’ total aces.

After playing four of its last five contests on the road, Ball State (12-7, 5-1 MIVA) will return to Worthen Arena for a pair of home matches against Queens (6-10, 2-5 MIVA) — the first on March 1 and the second on March 3. The Royals are the newest addition to the nine-team MIVA as they are competing in their inaugural season as members of the conference.

“It’s gonna be great to get back in front of the home crowd,” Cruz said. “I know our guys are excited to not have to miss class and be on the road, but we also enjoy the time together and the bonding that we get to have on the road.”

Contact Adam Altobella with comments on X @AltobellaAdam or via email at


More from The Daily

This Week's Digital Issue

Loading Recent Classifieds...