No. 9 Cougars take down undefeated Ball State in five-set comeback thriller
PROVO, Utah — In a two-set deficit, No. 9 BYU came back to win it all, securing three straight sets (30-32, 20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-10) to conquer undefeated No. 10 Ball State in the Smith Fieldhouse on Friday.
The Cougars are currently on a five-match winning streak and now hold a 5-2 overall record for the season.
"We’re capable of doing really great things on this court," said BYU sophomore outside hitter Kupono Browne. "In our third set, we just looked each other in the eyes and really trusted each other.”
Ball State was coming off of two huge victories over No. 1 Hawaii last weekend and remained undefeated until Friday, leading the NCAA in multiple statistical categories, including No. 1 in kills per set (14.47), No. 1 in hitting percentage (.444), No. 1 in assists per set (13.12), No. 4 in aces per set (2.29) and No. 4 in digs per set (9.71).
BYU recorded 62 kills for the night and a .323 hitting percentage. Ball State tallied four extra kills, racking up 66 on a .319 clip. Both teams managed 40 digs. Defensively, the Cardinals outblocked the Cougars 10.5-8.0.
MIVA Offensive Player of the Week, Ball State’s Kaleb Jenness topped the leaderboard with 24 kills, hitting a .311 clip. BYU freshman outside hitter Miks Ramanis paced for the Cougars with 19 kills and a .361 hitting percentage.
Back after his ankle injury against Mount Olive last week, BYU senior outside hitter Davide Gardini celebrated a double-double with 13 kills and 14 digs. He also had a huge solo block to help secure the fourth-set victory.
Browne, a transfer from Stanford, had 11 kills, his most during his time as a Cougar. He played in only three of the five sets but ended the game strong with four huge fifth-set kills.
Another career-high tally came from BYU sophomore setter Zeo Meyer who contributed six kills along with his 49 assists.
Gardini smashed two quick aces to start things off, propelling BYU ahead 3-0. Jenness achieved the first kill of the game. Gardini followed with one of his own.
The Cardinals laid down another three kills, paired with a BYU attack error. This tied the match at 5-5. The teams traded errors until a 5-0 run by BYU, including two aces by Meyer and kills by Ramanis and Gardini, widening the gap to 13-7.
The Cardinals benefited from a BYU service error before BYU senior opposite hitter Alex Ah Sue smashed his second kill of the set. Attempting to catch up, Ball State’s Angelos Mandilaris tacked on two consecutive kills. However, four back-to-back errors by the Cardinals allowed the Cougars to lead by eight points at 18-10.
This lead quickly diminished after seven kills by Ball State and five BYU errors. This tied the match at 23-23. The teams tied seven more times through extra points until two final BYU errors gave the Cardinals the set-win at 32-30.
At 4-3, Ball State held a slight lead after all seven points had resulted from kills. This included points from Meyer, Ramanis and Ah Sue. Ramanis followed Ball State’s two aces with a kill to keep BYU close behind at 6-5. A kill by Gardini and two errors by the Cardinals tied the match at 8-8.
Ball State managed a 3-0 run to keep an edge, extending its lead to 13-10. BYU Sophomore middle blocker Gavin Julien snuck in one kill before the Cardinals tallied their third block of the set at 15-11. From here, the Cougars continued to battle, trailing just 21-19, thanks to four Ball State service errors and four combined kills by Meyer and Ramanis.
Three detrimental errors by the Cougars secured the Cardinals their second set-win at 25-20.
The teams started the set tight, tying four times by 4-4. A kill by Ramanis started the Cougars on a 3-0 run. This lead quickly diminished after two BYU errors and two Ball State kills tied the match again at 8-8.
This lit a fire under BYU. A service ace by Meyer and a kill by Gardini contributed to a 4-0 run, widening the gap to 12-8. Kills by five different Cougars, including two by Browne, maintained the lead. However, Jenness notched three consecutive kills, keeping the Cardinals behind by just one point at 19-18.
Four more BYU kills and a needed block by Julien and Ramanis gave BYU its first set-win at 25-20.
BYU earned the first point of the set off a Cardinal service error. From here, the teams traded points until three combined kills by Browne and Ramanis allowed BYU to take the lead at 6-3.
Attempting to cut the lead, Jenness upped his kill count to 20, smashing three quick kills to steal the lead for the Cardinals at 10-8. Julien and Gardini racked up kills, however, three errors by BYU allowed Ball State to hold the lead.
Four errors by Ball State and a kill by Browne put BYU behind by just one point at 17-16. A block by Ramanis and Julien tied the match at 17-17. Three kills by Gardini and two service aces by BYU junior libero Jon Stanley sealed BYU it’s second set-win at 25-22
A Ball State kill and ace, accompanied by a BYU service error, gave the Cardinals an early 3-1 lead. The Cardinals buckled with two errors, allowing BYU to tie the set at 3-3. This resulted in four more ties, until BYU took an 8-7 lead after a crucial Ball State service error.
A kill from Browne increased BYU’s lead to 10-7. Two more Browne kills and a block by Julien brought the Cougars to match point at 14-10. In the end, a final kill by Ramanis gave BYU the win at 15-10. The Cougars had eight kills on their ten attempts, hitting a .800 in this final set.
BYU faces Ball State again on Saturday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. MDT in the Smith Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcast on BYUtv and on the BYUtv App.
No. 9 Cougars to host undefeated, No. 10 Ball State in key two-game showdown
PROVO, Utah — This week, No. 9 BYU men’s volleyball will remain in the Smith Fieldhouse, hosting red-hot No. 10 Ball State University for a pair of matches, starting Friday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. MDT.
Ball State is coming off of two huge victories over No. 1 Hawaii last weekend and leads the NCAA in multiple statistical categories.
The Cougars hold a 12-4 all-time record against the Cardinals and are on a nine-match winning streak against them.
No. 9 Brigham Young University Cougars (4-2, 0-0 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation)
- Last weekend, BYU racked up two victories (3-2, 3-1) against the University of Mount Olive
- Early in the first match last weekend, BYU captain and preseason First Team All-American Davide Gardini went down with an ankle injury, missing the remainder of play throughout the weekend. Gardini's absence opened the door for others to step up, including a number of freshmen who put up career-best numbers.
- Freshman outside hitter Miks Ramanis led the way last weekend, putting up 23 kills on Friday and 22 kills on Saturday. Not only was this the highest kill count of any BYU player this season or last season, but the first time a Cougar had tallied 23 kills since Davide Gardini three seasons ago, on April 13, 2019 against Stanford. Rimanis is No. 12 in the NCAA with a .410 hitting percentage. He is No. 20 in kills per set at 3.47.
- Other Cougars who had big weekends and set career bests included Jon Stanley, Bartosz Slawinski, Gavin Julien, Anthony Cherfan, Luke Benson and Teon Taylor.
- BYU has had five different starting lineups in six matches this season.
- BYU ranks No. 14 in blocks per set (2.19), No. 14 in match-winning percentage (.667) and No. 19 in hitting percentage (.282)
- The Cougars finished the 2021 season with a 20-4 record, its eighth MPSF conference championship title, a trip to the NCAA national championship game and a No. 2 national ranking
- Off the Block recognized Gardini as preseason First Team All-American
No. 10 Ball State University Cardinals (5-0, 0-0 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association)
- Last weekend, Ball State tallied two huge wins (3-0, 3-2) against No. 1 University of Hawaii (3-0, 3-2).
- Out of their five matches this season, the Cardinals have swept four.
- Their other wins this season came against Maryville University, Tusculum University and George Mason University.
- Graduate senior setter Quinn Isaacson and senior outside attacker Kaleb Jenness earned spots on the Preseason All-MIVA Team.
- Isaacson ranks No. 1 in the NCAA in aces per set (.867), No. 1 in assists per set (12.20) and No. 16 in digs per set (2.20)
- Jenness ranks No. 2 in the NCAA in kills per set (4.64), No. 2 in points per set (5.11), No. 7 in attacks per set (8.43) and No. 9 in hitting percentage (.432)
- On Tuesday, Jenness earned MIVA Offensive Player of the Week after his 19 kills and .467 hitting percentage against Hawaii.
- In the NCAA, Ball State ranks No. 1 in kills per set (14.47), No. 1 in hitting percentage (.444), No. 1 in assists per set (13.12), No. 4 in aces per set (2.29) and No. 4 in digs per set (9.71).
BROADCAST INFORMATION – Feb. 4
BROADCAST INFORMATION – Feb. 5
Consistent with current BYU requirements, all in attendance will need to provide proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test upon entry. Masks will also be required, regardless of vaccination status. Find more details at byu.edu/coronavirus.