Ball State middle Walsh dominant in U.S. sweep of El Salvador

One of the nation’s top blockers in college men’s volleyball delivered on offense to help the United States secure a spot in the quarterfinals at the Pan American Cup.

Ball State middle attacker Matt Walsh had a match-high 11 kills as the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team swept El Salvador 25-15, 25-14, 25-22 in its group play finale on Thursday in Canada.



This was the most kills for Walsh in any match since the start of his college career. The finalist for the 2015 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Blocker of the Year and Freshmen All-American Team selection also added two blocks and an ace against El Salvador.

Walsh was one of three U.S. players that finished with more than five kills. USC middle attacker Andy Benesh had 10 kills for his second consecutive match in the tournament with double-digit kills, while UCLA outside attacker J.T. Hatch added seven kills.

Outside attacker Mauricio Rivas led El Salvador (0-3) with eight kills.

The United States in the win out-blocked El Salvador 11 to 4. However, the team committed 30 errors throughout the match — 11 more errors than El Salvador.

With this victory, the United States finishes Group B in second place and will play Mexico in the quarterfinals of the international tournament on Friday. In addition, the United States enters the playoffs as one of three teams to end with a winning record in group play.

This will be the first meeting between the two teams since the United States defeated Mexico in four games at the 2014 NORCECA Continental Championship.