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Ball State Men’s Volleyball (12-6, 4-3 MIVA) returned to Worthen Arena Saturday for the first time in three weeks, having finished a five-match Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association road trip. Taking advantage of their home comforts, the Cardinals defeated Sacred Heart (5-11, 0-7 EIVA) 3-0 to begin a three-match series against non-MIVA opponents.
Coming off a 17-point victory on Senior Night Tuesday, a strong veteran presence was key for Ball State Men’s Basketball (18-13, 11-7 MAC) Friday at the Convocation Center in DeKalb, Illinois. Led by 33 points from their three senior players, the Cardinals defeated Northern Illinois (18-13, 11-7 MAC) in their regular season finale 75-54.
Don’t ask sophomore outside attacker Kaleb Jenness about a “sophomore slump.” Leading Ball State Men’s Volleyball (11-6, 4-3 MIVA) in kills with 233 this season — 49 more than his freshman year — Jenness’ 20 Wednesday helped give the Cardinals a 3-1 victory over Ohio State (10-8, 2-5 MIVA).
It’s been a successful Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) road trip so far for senior outside attacker Blake Reardon. Leading Ball State Men’s Volleyball (10-6, 3-3 MIVA) with 15 kills, the Cardinals swept Quincy (4-13, 1-5 MIVA) Saturday, bouncing back from a four-set loss to Lindenwood Friday.
Milestones matter. Just ask Ball State head coach Joel Walton.
Road trips and rivalries — two aspects of sport that do not necessarily come easy to many players. Beginning a five-match road trip against MIVA opponents, that was the case for Ball State Men’s Volleyball (8-5, 1-2 MIVA) in a 3-1 loss to No. 14 Purdue Fort Wayne (7-4, 2-2 MIVA) Friday.
Senior outside attacker Blake Reardon’s effort in the third and fourth sets Saturday was not enough to get the job done for Ball State Men’s Volleyball (8-4, 1-1 MIVA). Dropping their first match at Worthen Arena this season, the Cardinals’ five-match win streak came to an end against No. 6 Lewis (8-5, 2-1 MIVA) in a 3-1 loss.
Junior setter Quinn Isaacson has spent his entire life surrounded by sports. Playing volleyball in high school, in addition to having parents as coaches, Isaacson knew his transition to Ball State as a freshman would be smooth.
Luck was not on the Cardinals’ side at the ninth-annual Earl Yestingsmeier Match Play in Dade City, Florida. Despite entering the tournament as the No. 1 seed, Ball State placed sixth out of eight teams at the invitational after splitting both its matches Monday, followed by a loss to fellow Mid-American Conference rival Bowling Green in the fifth-place match Tuesday.
Playing against a first-year team has its advantages. Coming off a six-match road trip against three ranked opponents, Ball State Men’s Volleyball (6-3, 0-0 MIVA) used them in its 3-0 win over Urbana (0-11) Thursday.
It was a road trip with mixed results for Ball State Men’s Volleyball (5-3, 0-0 MIVA). However, the Cardinals ended their six-match journey away from Worthen Arena on a high note Saturday with a 3-0 win over Saint Francis (2-5, 0-0 EIVA).
The old saying “practice makes perfect” paid off for Ball State Men’s Volleyball (4-3, 0-0 MIVA) Friday. Coming off three consecutive losses, the Cardinals upset No. 7 Penn State (4-3, 0-0 EIVA) in their fifth consecutive road contest.
Prior to Saturday, Ball State Men’s Volleyball (3-3, 0-0 MIVA) had never been on the short end of the stick against the New Jersey Institute of Technology (4-2, 0-0 EIVA). However, the Cardinals’ 10-match win streak against NJIT ended Saturday, as the Highlanders were victorious, 3-0.
Tying his career high in kills with 22 in last Friday’s win over California State Northridge, sophomore outside attacker Kaleb Jenness set a new career high Thursday at No. 12 George Mason (3-2, 0-0 EIVA) with 26. However, the Patriots (4-1, 0-0 MIVA) ultimately had the edge over the Cardinals (3-2, 0-0 MIVA), taking the match, 3-2.
“They’re just a very good team. They do a lot of things well.”
Notching 11 combined kills in last weekend’s season-opening victories, sophomore outside attacker Kaleb Jenness doubled that figure in Ball State Men’s Volleyball’s (3-0, 0-0 MIVA) 3-2 win over California State Northridge (1-4, 0-0 Big West) Friday.
In the first-ever meeting between Ball State Men’s Volleyball (2-0, 0-0 MIVA) and Queens (0-2, 0-0 IVA), the Cardinals used depth to their advantage to sweep the Royals in night two of the Don Shondell Active Ankle Challenge.
In volleyball, many teams would describe a sweep on opening night as an ideal way to start a new season.
Coming off a quarterfinal exit in last season’s Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament, Ball State will rely on a greater sense of cohesion and an improved offense in hopes of gaining its first MIVA title since 2002.