No. 9 BYU falls to No. 10 Ball State in four
PROVO, Utah — After a thrilling five-set win for the No. 9 Cougars on Friday, BYU fell in four sets to No. 10 Ball State (25-23,19-25, 31-33, 20-25) in the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday.
BYU is now 5-3 this season. The loss ended BYU’s five-match overall winning streak and 10-match winning streak over Ball State. It's the Cardinals' first win over the Cougars since 1996.
“A lot of guys played well today, but we're missing a lot of things, and we need to improve,” said BYU senior outside hitter Davide Gardini. “I’m confident that we can bounce back. We know it won't be a perfect season, but we're going to look at the film and see what we can do better. We're excited to play again next weekend.”
The Cardinals lead 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). Tonight, they led with 59 kills and a .278 hitting percentage. BYU stayed close behind, posting 55 kills and a .233 clip.
Ball State dominated defensively, tallying 44 digs and 18 blocks compared to BYU’s 32 digs and 11 blocks.
BYU sophomore outside hitter Kupono Browne tallied a BYU career-high of 19 kills and a .441 hitting percentage. MIVA Offensive Player of the Week, Ball State’s Kaleb Jenness matched Kupono's 19 kills, but posted a slightly lower clip of .244.
Gardini and Browne started strong out of the gate, both slamming quick kills to tie the match at 3-3. The teams traded ties until Gardini smashed another kill at 7-6. This gap grew as Gardini and Browne both tallied another two kills each, leading 15-11.
From there, the teams traded attack errors until Jenness contributed two consecutive kills, leaving BYU ahead by two points at 17-15. BYU freshman outside hitter Miks Ramanis snuck in one kill before Jenness tallied another.
The Cardinals racked up another two kills, paired with three BYU errors. This nearly evened the score at 21-20. Even with Browne’s fifth kill of the set, Ball State’s Dyer Ball pulled off two kills to tie the match at 23-23. Ramanis clinched the set-win for BYU at 25-23 with a needed kill and ace.
Ball State took the advantage after three consecutive BYU errors, leading 3-0. Catching up, BYU’s first points came from kills by Ramanis and BYU senior middle blocker Branden Oberender. A Ball State service error and a solo block by BYU sophomore middle blocker Gavin Julien tightened the score at 5-4. The Cardinals would tally another two errors, allowing the Cougars to tie the match at 6-6.
Two kills by Ball State’s Felix Egharevba put the Cardinals back in the lead. Browne, Gardini and Ramanis kept the Cougars in the game with kills of their own. However, three BYU attack errors and an ace gave the Cardinals a chance to break away, leading by eight points at 19-11.
The Cougars managed to close the margin to 23-18 after four kills, including another two by Browne. In the end, Ball State’s Ball notched his tenth kill of the night to give the Cardinals the set-win at 25-19.
The Cougars took an early lead at 2-1 after Browne achieved his ninth kill of the night. From there, the teams took turns notching kills, including points from Ramanis and Browne. However, two BYU errors tied the match at 5-5.
Attempting to break the tie, Gardini put down two kills, but Ball State’s Nick Martinski matched his efforts. The Cardinals and Cougars proved to be in a stalemate, tying nine times. Ball State managed a 3-0 lead at 20-17 after four kills. This lit a fire under Ramanis and Gardini, who each slammed kills, positioning BYU just one point behind.
A crucial Ball state error and an ace by BYU junior serving specialist Jon Stanley tied the match at 21-21. Ten ties and 15 kills later, Ball State took the thrilling set-win at 33-31. Both teams totaled 20 kills in the set, including a .389 clip by the Cardinals and a .359 clip by the Cougars.
Four Ball State errors and two kills by Ramanis gave BYU an edge early on, leading 6-2. Ball State’s Jenness snuck in his 14th kill of the night just before Gardini slammed his 13th. Julien, Browne and Ramanis contributed five combined kills to extend BYU’s lead to 15-9.
A killing spree commenced among the teams after Ball slammed his 14th. Eight different players added kills, ultimately tying the match at 19-19. The set shifted after four quick BYU attack errors. This gave the Cardinals their first lead of the set. Instead of heading into a fifth set, Ball State finished the match on an 11-1 run to seal the match win at 25-20.
Up next, BYU will remain in Provo to host UC San Diego in a two-game series starting Friday, Feb. 11 in the Smith Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. MDT.
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.