Ball State Defeats DIII MSOE, Earns Program's 1,000th All-Time Victory


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MUNCIE, Ind. - There was only one number on the minds of Ball State (3-4) fans Friday night at Worthen Arena, and with a 3-0 (30-13, 30-25, 30-23) sweep of the Milwaukee School of Engineering (2-8), the BSU men's volleyball team picked up the program's 1,000th all-time victory.

"It's very special," said Ball State head coach Joel Walton after the match. "When you hear the list of teams and it's only one other that's achieved 1,000 wins in men's collegiate volleyball in the United States and that's UCLA, it's really significant. I'm very pleased to see the kind of turnout we had here tonight. I think it was partially because people enjoy coming out to watch the Cardinals, but I know a lot of people came out to support the team and that's special."

With 14 of 15 active players seeing action at different times throughout the match, the Cardinals truly used a complete team effort in improving to 1,000-393-8 all-time. Overall, over 250 alumni and 18 current student-athletes, including eight alumni who have been inducted into the Ball State Athletics Hall of Fame, have helped the Cardinals reach the 1,000 win plateau.

In addition to being only the second men's volleyball program in the country to eclipse the 1,000 win mark, the team joins baseball (1,353-1,264-14) and men's basketball (1,075-975-1, as of Feb. 11) as the only programs to reach the mark in Ball State history.

Legendary coach and American Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame member Don Shondell guided the program to 769 wins over his 34-year tenure, while Marvin Gray gave Shondell a brief break by leading the 1965 team to 35 victories. In addition, current BSU head coach Joel Walton has led the Cardinals to 196 wins in his 11-plus seasons as mentor.

"Our program history and success goes back to Coach Shondell for having the vision to start a premiere collegiate men's volleyball program in the Midwest and keep it going when there were tough times in the early 1980's and even in the early 2000's when our program was in jeopardy," added Walton. "We owe so much to Don Shondell, to the Shondell family and to all of the alumni that have come out of this program and gone on to spread the word of volleyball throughout the country. There is such a great tradition with Ball State and volleyball. It's very empowering and awesome to be a part of it."

In Friday's victory, redshirt junior Ben Irwin (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove H.S.) and sophomore James Emming (West Chester, Ohio/Moeller H.S.) guided the BSU offense with seven kills apiece, while sophomore transfer Andy Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis./St. Croix Falls H.S.) added six.

Overall, the Cardinals finished the contest with its second-best attacking effort of the season, hitting .329 (41-13-85). Junior Ethan Pheister (Shorewood, Wis./Shorewood H.S.) set BSU in the first two games, handing out 20 assists while collecting four blocks, two digs, an ace and a kill. Redshirt freshman Daniel Penrod (Selma, Ind./Wapahani H.S.) guided BSU in the third frame, passing out 13 assists, while adding three digs and a kill.

Defensively, BSU racked up 32 digs in the contest, with fifth-year senior Mark Termion (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North H.S.) tying for match-high honors with seven after replacing junior Billy Ebel (Lenexa, Kan./Bishop Miege H.S.) as the team's libero to start the second game. Ebel finished the night with four digs and a service ace.

The MSOE attack, which finished the night with a .087 (33-24-103) rate of success, was paced by Bryce Kingsley's eight kills.  The Raiders' Jon Holzbauer tied BSU's Termion for match-high honors with seven digs.

After MSOE opened the match with two of the first three points, the Cardinals came to life, rattling off eight of the next nine to build a 9-3 lead. Irwin had a pair of kills in the run, as did redshirt sophomore Marcus Imwalle (Maria Stein, Ohio/Marion Local H.S.). Imwalle gave BSU its first 10-point advantage at the 17-7 mark with his third kill of the frame, while junior Matt Sprague (Ballwin, Mo./Marquette H.S.) extended the lead to 13 with a kill to push the score to 22-9.

Ball State went on to reach set point at 29-12 on sophomore J.D. Gasparovic's (St. Louis, Mo./Oakville H.S.) lone swing of the contest, while one of senior Todd Chamberlain's (Louisville, Ky./Trinity H.S.) three kills in the set ended the game at 30-13.

The second set was the closest of the match, with 15 ties and three lead changes. With the score deadlocked at 20, BSU rallied off the next three points, including a kill and block assist from Irwin, to pull ahead for good. Ball State's largest lead of the frame came at the 28-23 mark after a Pheister overpass kill and an Imwalle service ace. However, a BSU service error and a Kingsley kill gave MSOE brief life at 28-25.

Ball State's Emming responded with a kill to give the hosts set point at 29-25, while a MSOE attack error ended the game at 30-25.

In the final game, the teams played to a 14-14 tie, before a Nelson kill and a service ace from junior Eric Schulte (Shorewood, Wis./Shorewood H.S.) bookended a three-point Ball State run, giving the Cardinals the lead for good in the frame. Ball State extended the lead to eight points and reached match point at 29-21 off a Schulte kill.

While a kill from Kingsley and an attack error stopped BSU's first two chances at history, sophomore Lee Meyer (Cincinnati, Ohio/Moeller H.S.) connected on the third with a history-making kill to give Ball State a 30-23 third set win and the program's 1,000th all-time victory.

The Ball State men's volleyball team returns to action next Friday, when makes its first visit to the Milwaukee School of Engineering for a 7 p.m. (CT) first serve

Article courtesy of Ball State athletics.

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