MISENHEIMER, N.C. – Fighting off late rallies by Pfeiffer University in sets two and three, visiting Ball State University was able to escape with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-23) sweep of the Falcons in the NCAA I Men’s Volleyball action on Saturday afternoon in the Merner Gym. The Cardinals improve to 5-2 overall while the Falcons drop their 2012 season opener.
Both teams traded early points in the opening set until a kill by BSU’s Larry Wrather (Lake Bluff, IL) started a 7-0 run for the Cardinals at 11-10. Pfeiffer’s Quentin Moore (Richmond, VA) and Caleb Brophy (Mission Viejo, CA) would each register late kills to keep the Falcons close, but a final kill from Greg Herceg (Lakewood, OH) would give the Cardinals a 1-0 match lead.
Midway through the middle stanza, a service ace by Konstantin Weise (Berlin, GERMANY) put the Falcons up 17-16 with a Ball State timeout following. After a Matt Leske (Highwood, IL) kill but BSU back up one, Brophy stormed right back with another Falcon put down for a 20-20 set. Cardinal setter Graham Mcilvaine (Hinsdale, IL) snuck in a kill to make it 23-22 while the next three plays all ended in errors leading to a two-point set win for BSU and a 2-0 match lead.
More of the same continued in the final set as Ball State and Pfeiffer went back and forth to the end as three Cardinal errors led to a 22-20 lead for the Falcons. After a Falcon serving error and ensuing ace by Mcilvane, the two point Pfeiffer lead turned into a one-point Ball State lead at 23-22. A kill by Moore kept the Falcons within striking distance, but two final Wrather kills sandwiched in-between allowed BSU to hold off Pfeiffer again 25-23.
Ball State was led by Herceg, Wrather and Kevin Owens’ (Fishers, IN) eight kills apiece. Owens would hit .462 in the win while Wrather hit at a .438 clip. Mcilvane assisted 29 times on offense while the BSU defense came up with 10 team blocks. Moore led all hitters with a game-high 12 kills followed closely by Brophy’s 11. David Specian (Loxahatchee, FL) put up a game-high 32 helpers in the loss.
Pfeiffer will return to action on Wednesday night traveling to league newcomer Barton for their first road contest and first Conference Carolinas tilt of the season. Match time is set for 7:00 p.m.