BYU men’s volleyball ends home streak with 3-1 loss to Ball State
No. 9 BYU men’s volleyball snapped a 16-match home win streak Saturday, falling to the No. 10 Ball State Cardinals 3-1.
Ball State owned the net all night, putting up 18 total blocks, 44 digs and recording a .278 hitting percentage. On the other side of the court, BYU had a .233 hitting percentage, 32 digs and 11 blocks.
The match began in a defensive battle with both teams putting up blocks at key moments. In the first set alone, Ball State recorded six blocks to the Cougars’ three. Despite Ball State’s impressive number of blocks and hitting .250, it still wasn’t enough to stop the Cougars. A major ace from freshman Miks Ramanis ended set one in BYU’s favor with a score of 25-23.
Set two brought major offensive struggles for the Cougars and the set ultimately ended in favor of the Cardinals, 25-19. With the Cougars hitting just .033 in the second set, head coach Shawn Olmstead said the team needed “a little more heart, a little more fight.”
Prior to set three, BYU took to the locker room while Ball State opted to stay on the court. Upon their return, both teams battled to take the upper hand in the match. After an intense seven set points, the Cardinals took the advantage, winning 33-31.
The Cougars started with high hopes in the fourth set, taking an early lead. However, it wasn’t long before the team’s excitement was brought down by an 11-1 Ball State run. An ace from the Cardinals brought the teams to set point and just one play later Ball State took it all, 25-20.
Ball State outside hitter and MIVA Offensive Player of the Week Kaleb Jenness said, “It was really big to have everyone all bought in ready to go.” He noted they were prepared to play amid the intensity of the Smith Fieldhouse crowd.
First-year head coach for the Cardinals, Donan Cruz, and the entire Cardinals crew have now made a splash in the volleyball community after adding one more win to their resume. Beating No. 1 Hawaii twice last week and tonight’s win against the Cougars gives the Cardinals their third ranked win of the season.
Despite the loss, the future remains bright for the Cougars. Sophomore transfer Kupono Brown lead the team, putting up a .441 hitting percentage, 19 kills, six digs and three blocks. Senior Davide Gardini, despite an ongoing ankle injury, followed just behind, racking up 14 kills, four digs and five blocks.
The Cougars have a week to prepare before they take the court again next weekend with two home games against UC San Diego.