- #12 Ball State def. #13 Fort Wayne 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-20)
- Ball State moves to 13-9, 6-2 MIVA; Fort Wayne falls to 15-7, 3-5 MIVA
- Muncie, Indiana
- Box Score
MUNCIE, Ind. – The Ball State Cardinals finished off a season sweep of instate rival Fort Wayne, following Wednesday’s five set road win with a home sweep Saturday.
Ball State owned the advantage across the stat sheet, outhitting the Mastodons .280 to .160 and besting Fort Wayne in kills (43-34), aces (4-1) and blocks (9.5-4).
Sophomore outside Matt Szews was the leading hitter in the match with 13 kills on a .290 hitting effort. Senior middle Matt Walsh (7), freshman outside Ben Chinnici (6) and sophomore outside Blake Reardon (6) followed. Walsh registered a match-high six blocks, while hitting at a team-high .400 clip (7-1-15). Junior middle Parker Swartz and sophomore setter Jake Romano served up two aces apiece.
The Mastodons used a balanced attack with three players notching eight or more kills led by redshirt junior outside Tony Price‘s nine. Sophomore middle Richie Diedrich and sophomore outside Pelegrin Vargas each followed with eight putdowns. Diedrich hit at a team-best .500 lcip (8-2-12), while Vargas chipped in eight digs and an ace. Freshman middle Tomas Gago added four kills and a team-high four blocks, while Price and junior setter Michael Keegan managed two stuffs apiece. Keegan notched a double-double with 26 assists and 14 digs.
Ball State jumped out to a 4-0 lead in Set 1 and never trailed in the stanza. Fort Wayne was within one at 9-8 after three straight points, including a Vargas ace, but would get no closer as the Cardinals countered with seven of the next nine points to go up 16-10. Four different players notched kills in the stretch, which also included two Mastodon miscues. Down 20-13, Fort Wayne made a run with seven of the next 10 to pull within three at 23-20. Two Vargas kills and four BSU errors buoyed the Mastodon rally. In the end, it was two Fort Wayne hitting errors that gave the Cardinals the 25-21 win.
The teams tied seven times, last at 14, in Set 2. Ball State led by as many as three at 9-6, but Fort Wayne scored four straight, including a kill and a block by Price, to grab a 10-9 lead of its own. The Cardinals stole away the advantage with an 8-4 run, including kills by four different players and two Walsh blocks, which made it 17-14. BSU held on from there, although it took three tries to secure the win. A service error made it 24-20, but the Cardinals missed a serve and Gago and Keenan teamed up for a block to keep the set going. A Weiler putaway wrapped up the 25-22 victory.
After a tie at 7-all, Ball State broke away in the final stanza with a 6-2 run. Szews had two kills and three others notched putaways as the Cardinals grabbed a 13-9 lead. The Mastodons cut the margin to two five times, last at 18-16, as BSU committed four errors, but could not break through. Two Reardon kills and two Fort Wayne miscues put Ball State up five at 22-17. A Swartz putdown and Romano ace put the Cardinals on the hill at 24-18. A Szews kill three points later capped the sweep at 25-20. Ball State hit at a .600 clip in the final set, while Fort Wayne notched a .381 effort.
Courtesy: Ball State Athletics
Courtesy: Fort Wayne Athletics
Despite a double-double from Michael Keegan on Saturday (March 17), No. 15 Fort Wayne falls to No. 11 Ball State in three sets (25-21, 25-22, 25-20) in Worthen Arena.
Ball State took the first four points of the match, and the Mastodons could not shrink the lead to less than two, which came at the 12-10 mark. Even with a 5-1 run behind Kade Bontrager’s serve, Fort Wayne only got to 21-18.
In the second set, Fort Wayne took four straight under Richie Diedrich, followed shortly later by a 4-1 run that gave the ‘Dons the lead at 14-13. The Cardinals got four straight points that gave them a lead they would not yield. Keegan had eight of his digs in the second frame.
A 7-2 run for the Cardinals put them up 12-8, and the ‘Dons could not recover. Despite two straight Mastodon points near the end of the set that forced a Ball State timeout, the Cardinals took the last point of the match.
Keegan’s double-double came to the tone of 26 assists and 14 digs. Pelegrin Vargas had eight kills and digs, while Tony Price led the offense with nine kills, while Diedrich had eight. Tomas Gago finished with four blocks to lead the ‘Dons on the block.
Fort Wayne falls to 15-7, 3-5 MIVA. Ball State improves to 13-9, 6-2 MIVA. Fort Wayne travels to Lewis and Loyola next weekend (March 22-24) for another pair of MIVA matches.
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