Courtesy NJIT Athletics
MUNCIE, Ind. — After Ball State took a two-set lead, visiting NJIT, rallied to even the match at 2-2 before the Cardinals secured the decisive fifth set on Saturday night in non-conference men's volleyball action at Worthen Arena.
Ball State improves to 2-0 on the season while the Highlanders move to 0-2 after opening the season at No. 14 Purdue Fort Wayne on Friday night.
Ball State cruised through sets one and two, 25-20 and 25-17, but the momentum shifted when NJIT took set three, 25-22. The Cardinals tried to recover in set four after the Highlanders led by as many as seven, but could only trim the deficit to one as NJIT went on to win 25-21.
In the fifth set, NJIT led 4-3 early but Ball State quickly answered with a 3-0 run to claim a 6-4 lead. The Cardinals wouldn't surrender the lead for the remainder of the match and gradually gained separation to win the final set 15-10.
Ball State was led by David Siebum's 14 kills followed by Matt Szews (13) and Kaleb Jenness and Parker Swartz (9). Setter Jake Romano paced the match with 44 assists while Adam Wessel led the team with 11 digs.
NJIT's Alvaro Gimeno was the lone player to reach double-figures in the kills category, notching 11. Transfer Enrique de Diego Garcia and Berger each produced eight kills. De Diego Garcia finished the match hitting .667 (8k, 0e, 12a) while Berger combined for a .538 percentage (8k, 1e, 13a).
Freshman Roque Nido piled up 32 assists for the Highlanders while libero Chris Wise led the match with 13 digs followed by Feldhus (9) and Tyler Brandow (6).
The Highlanders held a 12.5 to 11.5 team blocking advantage paced by middle Luca Berger with eight total blocks (three solo, five assists). Ball State's Felix Egharevba and Romano each combined for five block assists.
Ball State led the service ace category, 10-6, paced by Szews with four aces. NJIT's Jens Feldhus and Roque Nido each posted two aces.
NJIT will take a trip to play at Hawaii, who reached 19 wins last season on January 10, USC on January 11 and first-time opponent Concordia Irvine on January 12. The Highlanders last played both Hawaii and USC in 2009.