Pioneers Upended in Tight Three Set Affair at Ball State

Nick Hunt recorded 17 kills Wednesday night at Ball State

Munice, IN – The SHU men's volleyball team had its chances late in the first and third sets against Ball State but the Cardinals secured key points to knock off the Pioneers, 3-0, Wednesday night.  Nick Hunt (Uniondale, NY) led Sacred Heart in kills for the second straight night, tallying 17 along with a .379 hitting percentage.  Enzo Mackenzie's (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) 11 kills put him in double-digit for the first time in 2012.  Adrian Fernandez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) anchored the SHU defense with a match high nine digs.

 Ball State (2-1) jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the opening set but the Pioneers immediately began chipping away and leveled it at 10-10 on a Hunt kill.  The two sides traded errors and found themselves knotted at 22-22 late in the first frame.  However, the Cardinals posted back-to-back blocks to earn a set point and a SHU attack error gave Ball State the game, 25-22.  BSU finished with nine total blocks and were led by five from Matt Leske.

Sacred Heart (0-2) fed the hot hand early in the second set as Hunt propelled the Pioneers to a 7-4 advantage with four kills over that stretch.  However, Ball State would make just two attack errors in the set and posted a match best .353 hitting percentage.  SHU ripped 15 kills in the middle stanza but also committed nine hitting errors.  The home side pulled away late and took the second set, 25-19.

The Pioneers mounted another comeback in the third set, closing a 16-11 margin to deadlock the score at 20-20 on a block from Hunt and Mike Komlanc (St. Croix, Virgin Islands). Four points later it was 22-22 when Ball State again surged to the finish line.  Back-to-back kills followed by a block ended the set, 25-22, and the match, 3-0.

John Lutjen (Smithtown, NY) racked up 29 assists while setting at .414 clip.  No Cardinal reached double-digits but all six Ball State starters finished with at least three kills.

The Pioneers return to action Tuesday night as they visit former EIVA member Springfield College.