FORT WAYNE, Ind.– The No. 11 Ball State men’s volleyball team fell behind 2-1, but came back to defeat Fort Wayne 3-2 Friday night.
Freshman Matt Szews led the Cardinals with 18 kills on the day and a .400 attack percentage. Senior Connor Gross had 46 of the team’s 54 assists. Defensively, Adam Wessel led the way with nine digs. As a team, Ball State knocked down 54 kills for a .316 attack percentage along with 23 total blocks.
Ball State came out strong, taking the first set, 25-23. The Cardinals had 17 total kills for an impressive .520 attack percentage in the opening set. Szews, Matt Walsh and Mitch Weiler each tallied four kills. Set one had 12 tied scores and seven lead changes, but Ball State came out on top thanks to a Szews kill.
Fort Wayne came out and controlled sets two and three. In the second set (25-17), the Cardinals had only six kills to Fort Wayne’s 12. The Mastodons dominated set three from the start before forcing a Ball State timeout at 10-5. The Cardinals pulled within four, but fell 25-20.
Ball State fought back and won set four 25-20 to force a deciding set. Szews knocked down three of the Cardinals’ 11 kills. Brendan Surane and Anthony Lebryk both tallied two block assists.
The Cardinals’ nine kills, .533 attack percentage and four block assists helped seal the deal in a set five 15-10 victory. Surane, Walsh and Szews each had two kills in the closing set. Ball State won the match on a block assist by Gross and Walsh.
The Ball State men’s volleyball team moves to 11-2 overall and 3-1 in the MIVA. The Cardinals will return to action for two MIVA matches next weekend as they face Lewis (Feb. 17) and Loyola (Feb. 18). Both matches are set to begin at 7 p.m.