Ball State rallies to stun No. 10 Penn State in five games

Never count out Ball State — especially at its home court of Worthen Arena.

Outside attacker Mircan Niemczewski had a team-high 19 kills as Ball State rallied from a two-game deficit to upset No. 10 Penn State 29-31, 22-25, 26-24, 25-19, 15-12 at the Off the Block East vs. Midwest Challenge on Friday in Muncie, Indiana.


Niemczewski was one of three Ball State players to finish with double-digit kills. Outside attacker Shane Witmer had 17 kills, while outside attacker Matt Sutherland added 13 kills.

The Cardinals in the comeback victory out-hit the Nittany Lions .331 to .265, including have a .304 attack percentage in the decisive fifth game.

Penn State All-American outside attacker Aaron Russell led all players with a career-high 32 kills on a .439 attack percentage against the Cardinals. The 2014 finalist for the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year also had a team-high three aces.

Ball State finished the match with eight aces as middle attacker Brendan Surane had a career-high six aces.

With this victory, Ball State has now won its last three home matches against Penn State dating back to 2011.

This was one of two matches Friday that were part of the Off the Block East vs. Midwest Challenge. No. 13 IPFW swept St. Francis in the other match at the non-conference tournament.

The East vs. Midwest Challenge is a new non-conference event created Off the Block to honor the EIVA and the MIVA — the two oldest conferences in college men’s volleyball.

The East vs. Midwest Challenge will conclude Saturday with Ball State playing host to St. Francis and IPFW playing host to St. Francis.

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