Ball State Scores 3-2 Win At George Mason

3/21/2009

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FAIRFAX, Va. - Five Cardinals tallied double-figure kills to lead the Ball State men's volleyball team to a 3-2 (19-30, 32-30, 30-27, 28-30, 15-6) victory over George Mason Saturday night at the GMU Field House.

With the win, the Cardinals improve to 13-7 on the year, while the Patriots drop to 9-9 with the loss.

Matt Sprague (Ballwin, Mo./Marquette H.S.) continued his solid play for the Cardinals, tying Mason's Kyle Gramit for match-high honors with 19 kills. Sprague also fell one dig shy of a double-double for the second straight night, adding nine digs.

Todd Chamberlain (Louisville, Ky./Trinity H.S.) finished the contest with 15 kills and nine digs, while J.D. Gasparovic (St. Louis, Mo./Oakville H.S.) posted 13 kills and five total blocks.

Andy Nelson (St. Croix Falls, H.S./St. Croix Falls H.S.) smashed 11 kills and turned in four total blocks, while posting a match-best .611 (11-0-18) attack percentage. Dominic Spadavecchio (Palatine, Ill./William Fremd H.S.) was the fifth BSU player to tally double-digit kills, added 10 in the victory, in addition to six digs.

Ethan Pheister (Shorewood, Wis./Shorewood H.S.) set the BSU offense to a .224 (70-35-156) rate of success in the match, including a .600 (6-0-10) effort in the fifth game, while handing out 58 assists to go along with a five total blocks and a match-high three service aces.

In addition to Gramit, Brandon McLaughlin and Luke Maloney each pounded 10 kills for George Mason, with McLaughlin adding a match-best eight total blocks, followed by seven from Gramit. Ryan Kwiatkowski set the GMU offense to a .223 (59-28-139) attack percentage for the night.

In the backcourt, Billy Ebel (Lexana, Ka./Bishop Miege H.S.) paced the Cardinals with 12 digs, while the Patriots' Eric Lucas tallied a match-high 17 digs.

The match started with the teams playing to a 6-6 tie before George Mason rattled off the next four points to take a 10-6 advantage. A kill from Nelson helped the Cardinals trim the lead to three at 10-7, but a 9-2 GMU run gave the hosts control of the game. The Patriots went on to win the game 30-19 on a BSU ball handling error.

The second game was a back-and-forth battle, with neither team pulling ahead by more than three points. With the score tied at 28, a BSU attack error gave the hosts the first chance to win the set at 29-28, but a Gasparovic kill after a Ball State timeout knotted the score at 30.

A BSU service error gave the Patriots their second set point at the 30-29 mark, only to have a Nelson kill push the score the 30-all. Ball State took its first game point on the next play after a GMU setting error, and after a timeout, an attack error from Gramit gave the Cardinals the second-set victory at 32-30.

Thanks to a pair of kills from Sprague and two George Mason attack errors, the Cardinals opened the third frame with a 4-1 advantage. The Cardinals extended their lead to six points at the 10-4 mark off a Chamberlain kill, only to see the Patriots battle back and tie the game at 13.

With BSU trailing 18-17, the Cardinals capitalized on a GMU service error, a Pheister ace, a Gasparovic solo block and a block assists from Gasparovic and Chamberlain to pull ahead 21-18. George Mason was able to pull within one point on three occasions, including the 27-26 mark, but another Nelson kill and another block assists from Gasparovic and Chamberlain gave the Cardinals set point at 29-26.

A Gramit kill gave GMU one more attempt, but Chamberlain ended the game at 30-27 with a kill of his own.

George Mason turned the tide on Ball State in the fourth game, pulling out to a 4-1 lead of its own, with Lance Rogers smashing a pair of markers in the run. The Cardinals responded by tying the frame at 8-8. The Patriots followed with four of the next five points to take a 12-9 lead, and pulled ahead by as many as five points on several occasions, including the 23-18 mark.

With the five-point lead still intact at 25-20, the Cardinals came to life, as three GMU errors, kills from Nelson, Chamberlain and Gasparovic and a Pheister ace helped BSU tie the game at 27-27. However, after playing to a 28-28 deadlock, a pair of BSU errors allowed George Mason to escape with a 30-28 set victory.

Nelson started the fifth and deciding game with a solo block and combined with Pheister for a block assists on the next play to give BSU a 2-0 lead. A Spadavecchio service ace and a Pheister solo block extended the Cardinals lead to 4-0. From there, the Cardinals cruised to a 15-6 fifth-game win, capped by Spadavecchio's 10th kill of the night.

The Ball State men's volleyball team returns to action Friday (March 27), with defending MIVA regular season and tournament champion No. 14 Ohio State visits Worthen Arena for a 7:30 p.m. first serve.

Article courtesy of Ball State athletics.

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