Ball State Advances To MIVA Finals with 3-1 Win Over Lewis


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Columbus, Ohio - Behind a career-high 30 kills from senior Patrick Durbin (Louisville, Ky./Trinity H.S.), the 10th-ranked Ball State men's volleyball team advanced to the championship match of the 2008 MIVA Tournament with a 3-1 (30-28, 30-26, 27-30, 31-29) victory over 14th-ranked Lewis Thursday evening at St. John Arena.

"It is tournament time," said Ball State head coach Joel Walton after the victory. "Both teams played an incredibly tough match tonight. That is what this time of year is all about. I give Lewis credit for playing hard, we were just able to make enough plays at the end to pull out the win."

The Cardinals (21-9) will face No. 9 Ohio State (19-7), who defeated Loyola 3-0 (30-22, 30-26, 30-27) in Thursday's second semifinal match, in the championship match of the 2008 MIVA Tournament Saturday night at 7 p.m. on the campus of Ohio State. Lewis ends their season at 21-10 after the loss.

In addition to his career-high 30 kills, Durbin climbed to 15th in program history by raising his career kill total to 920. He also chipped in with 11 digs for his sixth double-double of the season, while adding five block assists.

Durbin was not the only player to make history in the win, as senior libero Ian Peckler (Vernon Hills, Ill./Vernon Hills H.S.) became Ball State's all-time leading digger, scoring a match-high 16 digs to raise his career total to 1,052. Peckler passes Chris Beerman's (1987-1990) career total of 1,047 digs for the top spot in the Ball State record books.

Three other Cardinals finished the contest with double-figure kills, as Todd Chamberlain (Louisville, Ky./Trinity H.S.) scored 16, Matt McCarthy (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South H.S.) added 13 and Matt Sprague (Ballwin, Mo./Marquette H.S.) posted 10.

Ball State freshman J.D. Gasparovic (St. Louis, Mo./Oakville H.S.) was the match's top blocker, logging seven total blocks (1 solo, 6 assists) in the contest.

Drew Pickering paced three Flyers with double-figure kills, scoring 19 in the loss, while Brian Muesenfechter added 15 and Jared Dayton logged 12. Muesenfechter added 10 digs in the win for a double-double, while Mike Iandolo paced Lewis with 11 digs.

Utilizing three kills from McCarthy and a pair of markers from both Chamberlain and Durbin, the Cardinals opened the first set with a 10-6 advantage. Lewis answered with the next three points, only to see a service error and a block assist from Gasparovic and Pheister push the BSU edge back to three.

After a kill from Sprague gave BSU a 16-13 lead, the Flyers scored five of the next seven points, tying the set thanks in part to a pair of blocks, including a solo stuff from Iandolo. Lewis took its first lead of the set moments later, when a kill from Muesenfechter broke a 19-19 deadlock.

A Ball State attack error followed, giving the Flyers a two-point edge, but the Cardinals rallied back, using a service error and kills from Durbin and Gasparovic to pull ahead 22-21. The Flyers' Pickering tied the set at 22 on the next play, only to have kills from Gasparovic and Chamberlain give BSU a 24-22 edge.

Back-to-back kills from the Flyers' Muesenfechter knotted the score at 24-24 and the score remained even at 27. Following a Lewis attack error, the Cardinals lone service ace of the frame, a smash to the middle of the court from Billy Ebel (Lenexa, Ka./Bishop Miege), gave BSU game point at 29-27. Two points later, Chamberlain ended the set at 30-28 in favor of the Cardinals with a shot off the Lewis block.

The teams traded the first 15 points of the second set before a second-straight kill from Durbin gave BSU its first two-point lead at 9-7. The opponents traded nine more points before a BSU attack error allowed Lewis to tie the score at 13-13.

With Ball State holding a 16-15 advantage, the Flyers took their first lead of the frame thanks to a kill and service ace from Muesenfechter. However, a service error evened the score at 19. After another Durbin kill, a pair of block assists from Durbin and Gasparovic over the next three points led to a 22-20 BSU edge.

Lewis remained within one point at the 24-23 mark, before a Durbin kill and back-to-back blocks from Gasparovic - - assisted by Durbin and Chamberlain, respectively - - gave BSU a 27-23 lead. Durbin followed with another kill, before a Gasparovic marker gave BSU game point at 29-25.

The Flyers posted the next point before Durbin's 905th career kill won the set for the Cardinals at 30-26. The kill moved Durbin to 15th in school history for career kills, ahead of Matt Denmark who amassed 904 kills from 2000-03.

After scoring the first point in each of the first two games, the Cardinals found themselves down early in the third frame after a Pickering kill opened the stanza for the Flyers. BSU managed to tie the set at 2-2, but a three-point run gave the Flyers a lead they did not relinquish the rest of the game.

Trailing by seven at the 26-19 mark, a service error and some strong play from BSU's Sprague - - two kills and a block assist - - sparked the Cardinals within three at 26-23. However, a time out and a kill from Alex Vigansky pushed the Lewis lead back to four at 27-23. Durbin followed with back-to-back kills, only to see the Flyers reach game point at 29-25 on a kill and solo block from Vigansky.

Ball State was able to score the next two points, on kills from Durbin and McCarthy, but Pickering provided the set-winning marker for the Flyers at 30-27.

Despite a Chamberlain kill to open game four, the Cardinals found themselves at an early 9-6 disadvantage. However, Sprague sparked another BSU rally, scoring kills on four of the next eight plays to give Ball State a 12-11 lead. Some solid defensive play from Peckler during the rally also helped, as the senior libero became the Cardinals' all-time leading digger.

With the score tied at 15, a Chamberlain kill and a Lewis ball handling error gave BSU a brief two-point edge at 17-15. The Flyers answered with the next two points, and the teams battled to a 25-25 tie from there. Lewis looked poised to force a fifth game, after a block and a kill from Dayton gave them a 27-25 lead.

A pair of Lewis errors surrounding a McCarthy kill gave BSU the momentum and the lead back at 28-27, but a Pickering kill tied the game again. The Flyers' next attack went long, giving Ball State match point at 29-28.

The Cardinals could not capitalize on their first match point, as a service error tied the score at 29. BSU reached its second game point on a Lewis attack error, before Durbin's career-high 30th kill gave the Cardinals a 31-29 set win.

Overall, Ball State held a slim .336 (76-25-152) to .318 (67-20-148) attacking advantage in the contest, while out-digging Lewis 51-to-40. The Flyers finished the match with 12.5 team blocks, compared to 11.5 for BSU, while out-acing the Cardinals 4-to-1.

Article courtesy of Ball State Athletics.

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