No. 14 Ball State Sweeps No. 7 UCLA
Muncie, Ind. - For the second-straight night a record crowd watched on as the No. 14 Ball State men's volleyball team upset No. 7 UCLA, this time with a 3-0 (30-21, 30-26, 30-24) sweep Saturday night at Worthen Arena.
With 3,572 fans behind them, the Cardinals upped their record to 12-6, including victories in 11 of their last 12 outings. The Bruins fell to 10-9 with the loss.
"This weekend was very special and I am grateful to everyone in Muncie and from the Ball State campus for coming out and supporting their team," said Ball State head coach Joel Walton. "What we did this weekend was learn a lot about the guys who are competing for Ball State this season.
"We have a great group of young men and it's one of those things where you win the first game and you never know what you are going to see. Our guys wanted it tonight, they wanted two in a row against the Bruins here tonight in Muncie."
For the second-straight match, the Cardinals dominated play at the net as Matt McCarthy (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South H.S.) logged a career-high 13 total blocks, including combining with Ethan Pheister (Shorewood, Wis./Shorewood H.S.) for the match-winner.
McCarthy also collected six kills and a dig in the victory, while Pheister handed out 32 assists and scored five blocks, four digs and a kill.
"I do not know if Matt is challenged by J.D. in the job that he did for us last night or if he was just holding back, but it was great to see Matt go out and play the way we know he is capable of playing," added Walton. "He played great defensively and made some key plays at some critical times."
Marcus Imwalle (Maria Stein, Ohio/Marion Local H.S.) continued his solid play versus the Bruins, smashing 12 kills while adding a pair of service aces.
Patrick Durbin (Louisville, Ky./Trinity H.S.) added 10 kills and hit for a .474 (10-1-19) rate of success. He also logged a match-high nine digs and two blocks.
Garrett Muagututia was UCLA's top performer, logging team-highs of nine kills and nine digs.
On night after scoring a career-high 12 blocks versus the Bruins, freshman J.D. Gasparovic (St. Louis, Mo./Oakville H.S.) got the ball rolling for the Cardinals as he opened the match with a kill and sparked a 4-0 BSU start.
The Bruins did not have an answer for the Cardinals in the opening game, as Ball State built a 10-point edge at 16-6. UCLA managed to score the next four points but did not get any closer, losing the game 30-21 on Pheister's lone kill of the contest.
After dominating the opening set, the Cardinals and Bruins settled into a battle for the rest of the night, including a second stanza that saw 15 ties and seven lead changes. With Ball State trailing 20-19, McCarthy connected with Pheister for a momentum-shifting kill and Imwalle followed with a service ace giving the hosts a 21-20 advantage.
A Sean O'Malley kill tied the score at 21-21, but back-to-back Bruins' errors gave the Cardinals the advantage for good in the frame. With a 26-25 advantage, an Imwalle kill, followed by a BSU triple block - - McCarthy, Imwalle and Todd Chamberlain (Louisville, Ky./Trinity H.S.) - - gave BSU a 28-25 edge.
McCarthy gave BSU match point with a kill at 29-26, while a Muagututia error gave the Cardinals a 30-26 second-set victory.
UCLA opened the third game strong, scoring the first three points and pulling ahead 7-3. The Cardinals battled back to tie the set at 8-8, thanks in part to a pair of Durbin kills and an Imwalle marker.
From there, the teams traded three-point runs to push the score to 11-11. The score remained deadlocked at 20-20, before a Chamberlain kill sparked a 3-0 BSU run that also included a block assist from Imwalle and McCarthy.
Muagututia followed with a kill of his own, sparking a 3-0 UCLA run with tied the score at 23. Three remained the magic number as another Chamberlain kill sparked a three-point BSU run, which also included a block assist (Pheister and McCarthy) and a Durbin kill.
With the Cardinals holding a 26-24 lead after another Muagututia kill, a service error pushed the score to 27-24. BSU concluded the sweep by scoring the final three points to win the game 30-24 and the match 3-0.
Overall, Ball State was able to out-hit the Bruins .273 (38-14-88) to .126 (46-32-111) in the match. The Cardinals also held a 14.0-to-8.0 advantage in team blocks. Both teams logged 27 digs and three aces.
The Ball State men's volleyball team will look for its eighth-straight win next Friday, when it travels up I-69 for a pivotal MIVA showdown with IPFW. Match time at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center is set for 7 p.m.
Article courtesy of Ball State athletics.