Ball State Posts 3-1 Win At Rutgers-Newark


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NEWARK, N.J. - Behind Dominic Spadavecchio's (Palatine, Ill./William Fremd H.S.) second career double-double, the Ball State men's volleyball team scored a 3-1 (30-24, 30-19, 27-30, 30-19) victory over Rutgers-Newark Friday evening at The Golden Dome.

With the win, BSU's second in a row and 11th in the last 14 matches, the Cardinals improve to 12-7 on the year. RNU drops to 8-8 with the loss.

Spadavecchio finished the contest with a career-high 15 kills and 10 digs, one shy of his career-best, for his second double-double in the last three matches. He scored the last three kills of the match for the Cardinals, while adding a career and match-best four service aces.

J.D. Gasparovic (St. Louis, Mo./Oakville H.S.) also tallied double-digit kills for BSU in the match, blasting 12, while hitting .556 (12-2-18). The nation's blocking leader also collected five block assists in the four sets.

Matt Sprague (Ballwin, Mo./Marquette H.S.) fell one kill shy of his second career double-double, adding 10 digs and nine kills. BSU libero Billy Ebel (Lenexa, Kan./Bishop Miege H.S.) added a team-best 12 digs in the victory.

Overall, the Ball State offense connected for a .291 (58-21-127) rate of success, with setter Ethan Pheister (Shorewood, Wis./Shorewood H.S.) handing out 51 assists, while posting four kills, three digs, three blocks and a pair of aces.

Eduardo Hernandez was the Scarlet Raiders top attacker with 12 kills, while Derek Wolfe added 10. RNU's Caden Mulligan paced all players with 16 digs, while Jon Keller added a match-best eight blocks.

Overall, the Cardinals limited Rutgers-Newark to a .206 (56-27-141) attack percentage in the contest, despite RNU hitting .400 (19-2-35) in their third-game victory. Rutgers-Newark did hold a slim 14.5 to 11 edge in total blocks.

The Cardinals, who arrived in Newark at 6 a.m. this morning after traveling through the night, managed to build an early 6-3 lead in the opening set, thanks in part to kills from Gasparovic and Spadavecchio. The hosts tied the set with the next three points, and again at 7-7, before Ball State collected the next four to move ahead for good in the game.

BSU extended its lead to six points at the 16-10 mark, on a RNU attack error. Rutgers-Newark managed to get as close as three at 17-14, but could get no closer as the Cardinals reached set point at 29-23 on a Sprague and Gasparovic block assists. Two plays later, a Sprague kill ended the frame at 30-24.

Ball State held a 6-5 lead in the second game before three straight RNU errors helped the Cardinals go on a 7-0 run and take a 13-5 advantage. The Scarlet Raiders would get no closer than five points the rest of the game, as BSU pulled ahead by 10 at 27-17 on another Sprague kill. After a Spadavecchio kill gave BSU set point at 29-18, a kill and service error from RNU's Nate Stott ended the frame at 30-19.

The third game was the closest of the night with 13 ties and six lead changes. Neither club was able to pull ahead by more than three points, as they played to a 26-26 deadlock. RNU broke the final tie of the game thanks to a BSU attack error and a service ace from Jon Keller which made the score 28-26. 

After a BSU timeout and a service error moved the score to 28-27, back-to-back kills from Rutgers-Newark's Marcin Midura ended the game at 30-27 and forced a fourth game.

After the teams battled to a 6-6 tie in the fourth set, the Cardinals came to life, scoring 10 of the next 11 points to pull ahead 16-7. Pheister posted both his aces in the run which was capped by back-to-back block assists from Spadavecchio and Gasparovic.

Ball State took its first 10-point lead at the 21-11 mark thanks to two of Spadavecchio's four aces, before going on to win the game 30-19. Spadavecchio scored the final three kills for the Cardinals to finish the night with a career-high 15 markers.

The Ball State men's volleyball team returns to action Saturday, when it travels from Newark to Fairfax, Va., for a 7 p.m. contest versus George Mason

Article courtesy of Ball State athletics.

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