Kaleb Jenness made his presence felt in his return to the starting lineup for No. 15 Ball State.
The All-MIVA outside attacker after missing the team’s previous match finished with both a match-high 15 kills and three aces as Ball State defeated its in-state rival Purdue Fort Wayne 25-22, 23-25, 25-19, 25-20 on Friday in the Molten/Off the Block National Match of the Week.
This conference opener was the third time in the Cardinals’ first five matches that Jenness had double-digit kills. Jenness had a combined 29 kills in a season-opening two-match series versus No. 12 George Mason but was limited to one game during the team’s two-match series against Lincoln Memorial last week.
Ball State out-hit Purdue Fort Wayne .320 to .236 and had four players with at least nine kills.
Along with Jenness, opposite Blake Reardon finished with 13 kills, while outside attacker Bryce Behrendt and middle attacker Will Hippe each had nine kills. Hippe also led Ball State with a .727 attack percentage.
All-MIVA outside attacker Pelegrin Vargas had a team-high 13 kills but was limited to a .179 attack percentage. Vargas was the only Mastodon to have double-digit kills in the team’s season opener.
Despite the loss, Purdue Fort Wayne out-blocked Ball State 11 to 9.5.
Middle attacker Richie Diedrich finished with a match-high six blocks, and setter Frederico Santos and middle attacker Bryce Walker each added four blocks.
Jenness led Ball State with four blocks and was one of two Ball State players to have at least 10 digs. Setter Quinn Isaacson in the victory led all players with 12 digs.
With this win, the Cardinals extend their winning streak to four matches. Ball State and Purdue Fort Wayne will conclude their two-match series on Saturday.