MUNCIE – They needed February again. They got April instead.
Instead of Feb. 13, when the IPFW men’s volleyball team came into Worthen Arena and took down rival Ball State, the Mastodons got a different version of Ball State in the MIVA quarterfinals Saturday night. And, to their chagrin, a different version of themselves.
Commanding the net and taking advantage of erratic play in almost every phase by IPFW, the Cardinals (21-5) swept the Mastodons into the offseason with a resounding 3-0 victory. Scores were 25-21, 25-17, 25-20.
The Cardinals, who won their 13th straight match since losing Feb. 23 at Loyola, were better on the net, more consistent in the set and had weapons IPFW (13-13) couldn’t answer – chiefly outside hitter Jamion Hartley, who punished the Mastodons with 11 mostly concussive kills.
Rob Samp (9 kills) and Andy Sellan (8) led IPFW.
Afterward, IPFW coach Arnie Ball stated the obvious.
They were just better than us, he said.
The team I had show up tonight is the same team I saw in Quincy, Ill. (a 3-0 loss to a previously winless-in-conference team), he went on. How many errors can we make? We hit balls out of bounds and into the net. We didn’t play very well. They outplayed us.
IPFW led 9-7 and 10-8 in set one, but a kill by Graham McIlvaine, a block and an attack error by the Mastodons handed the lead back to Ball State. The Cardinals never let the Mastodons get even again, taking command of the net late with back-to-back blocks and running out to a 25-21 win.
Second set, more of the same.
From an 8-all tie, the Cardinals took command with a block, a kill, a wandering IPFW set and another kill, then feasted on IPFW’s spotty service and setting woes to win 25-17 and take a 2-0 lead.
Then they finished it up with a 25-20 win in the third set, breaking a 12-all tie and again coasting home on the work of Hartley, Greg Herceg and McIlvaine up front and another spate of attack errors by IPFW.