No. 6 Ball State Defeats Rutgers-Newark, 3-1

4/4/2008

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Muncie, Ind. - After going up 2-0, the sixth-ranked Ball State men's volleyball team held on to score a hard-fought 3-1 (30-28, 30-16, 40-42, 30-28) victory over Rutgers-Newark Friday evening at Worthen Arena.

The Cardinals, who have won 13 of their last 14 matches, improve to 18-7 with the victory. The Scarlet Raiders drop to 6-17 with the loss.

The third game, which saw 26 ties and 12 lead changes, was the second-longest in Ball State history during the rally-scoring era, trailing only a 43-41 game-three setback to Loyola on March 25, 2003 in the MIVA Tournament semi-finals.

"I thought Rutgers-Newark played a tough, gritty match tonight," said Ball State head coach Joel Walton. "They really got in sync in games three and four, while playing very relaxed. We got a little bit tight and stopped making plays. However, we were able to fight our way back after making some early errors and pull out the fourth game."

Senior Patrick Durbin (Louisville, Ky./Trinity H.S.) and junior Todd Chamberlain (Louisville, Ky./Trinity H.S.) paced the Ball State offense with 21 and 16 kills, respectively, while freshman Marcus Imwalle (Maria Stein, Ohio/Marion Local H.S.) added 12 markers.

Also playing a large role in the Ball State victory was senior Justin Orr (Gladstone, Mo./Winnetonka H.S.), who added a career-high 10 kills, while scoring five total blocks in three games of action. Orr also finished the contest with a match-high .714 (10-0-14) attack percentage.

"I really thought Todd played well from the start," added Walton. "Pat kind of worked his way into the match and struggled a little bit early. Justin gave us great offense and made some nice plays at the net with five blocks. Justin really took advantage of an opportunity to play."

While the Cardinals opened the match with the first two points, it was the Scarlet Raiders who took control of the game early, capitalizing on four BSU errors to pull ahead 7-3. Ball State remained at a four-point disadvantage at the 11-7 mark, only to see some strong play from Ben Irwin (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove H.S.) and some solid serving from J.D. Gasparovic (St. Louis, Mo./Oakville H.S.) help the hosts rally off the next five points and take a 12-11 lead.

After falling behind 14-13 on a kill from RNU's Nate Stott, an Imwalle kill sparked a 4-0 BSU run, putting the hosts ahead for good in the set at 17-14. BSU reached game point at 29-24, only to see a Scarlet Raiders' rally push the score to 29-28. Chamberlain did not let the guest finish the comeback, however, as he smashed the game-winner at 30-28.

Ball State made quick work of Rutgers-Newark in the second stanza, building a 14-4 edge and never looking back, winning the game 30-16 on another Chamberlain kill.

Rutgers-Newark responded to the Cardinals call in the third game, pulling ahead by four points at 14-10 on a Grant Metheny marker. BSU rallied off the next four points to tie the set and help setup the second-longest game in program history.

After the 14-14 tie, the teams traded the lead numerous times, only to end up in a 28-28 stalemate. The visitors received the first of what turned out to be four-straight game points at 29-28, but could not take advantage, as the teams played to a 32-32 tie.

BSU got its first chance at match-point at the 33-32 mark after a RNU error, but could not capitalize on it, or a few other chances as the score went to 38-38. With the score tied at 40-40 after a kill from the Scarlet Raiders Kenneth Stumbaugh saved off BSU's fifth match-point, a Stott kill and a Ball State attack error helped the visitors force a fourth frame.

Rutgers-Newark looked poised to force a fifth game early in the set, building as much as a five-point lead before playing to a 21-17 advantage. Ball State battled back to tie the set at 25-25 on a block from Durbin and Gasparovic.

A Gasparovic and Imwalle block on the next play gave BSU its first lead since the 7-6 mark in the set. With the score knotted at 27-27, Imwalle smashed a critical kill and combined with Orr for a block assists, to give BSU match point at 29-27. After a kill from RNU's Stott, Imwalle provided the match-winner at 30-28.

Overall, the Cardinals out-slugged the visiting Scarlet Raiders .336 (71-27-131) to .216 (65-36-134). BSU setter Ethan Pheister (Shorewood, Wis./Shorewood H.S.) added a match-high 59 assists, while posting three blocks and a pair of kills.

Stott paced Rutgers-Newark with 18 kills, while Kenny Rienecker and Jon Keller each scored 13 and Metheny added 10.

Defensively, BSU held a 27-to-23 advantage in digs, with Billy Ebel (Lenexa, Ka./Bishop Miege H.S.) collecting a team-high of six. Four other Cardinals logged four digs each. RNU's Derek Wolfe paced all players with seven digs.

At the net, Rutgers-Newark held a slim 14.5-to-14 edge in blocks, with Keller posting a match-high seven rejections. Orr, Imwalle and Gasparovic each scored five total blocks for the Cardinals.

The Ball State men's volleyball team returns to action Saturday night, when it hosts No. 12 George Mason in a Senior Night showdown at 7:30 p.m. in Worthen Arena. Prior to the start of the contest, the Cardinals will honor seniors Durbin, Orr and Ian Peckler (Vernon Hills, Ill./Vernon Hills H.S.).

Article courtesy of Ball State athletics.

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