There is a reason Donan Cruz is the reigning National Coach of the Year.
The second-year Ball State head coach knew an adjustment was needed to counter BYU’s outside attackers following the Cardinals’ loss in the opener of the two-match series.
The decision to insert opposite Dyer Ball into the starting lineup worked and resulted in the team’s biggest win of the season so far.
Ball finished with 12 kills on a .304 attack percentage and four blocks as No. 8/9 Ball State defeated No. 11 BYU 24-26, 25-23, 25-19, 25-23 on Saturday in Muncie, Indiana.
“Dyer was ready to and has been training well. He is an emerging leader for our team and is an effective defender” Cruz said to Off the Block. “He did very well with the start.”
Ball in front of a home crowd of 1,711 people was one of four Cardinal starters to have at least .300 attack percentage. In addition, Ball State out-hit BYU .324 to .232 and had more than .400 in each of the final two games.
Outside attacker Tinaishe Ndavazocheva had a team-high 19 kills and hit .310. Ndavazocheva finished the non-conference series with 43 combined kills and now has more than a .300 attack percentage in six of the last seven matches.
Middle attacker Vanis Buckholz in the victory had eight kills and zero errors on a .667 attack percentage.
Buckholz also added both a match-high eight blocks and three aces.
Ball State (5-3, 0-0 MIVA) had a season-high 15 blocks – 11 more blocks than the Cougars (6-2, 0-0 MPSF). Along with Buckholz, setter David Flores, outside attacker Kaleb Jenness and middle attacker Felix Egharevba each contributed five blocks.
Outside attacker Miks Ramanis in the loss led all players with 20 kills on a .406 attack percentage. Ramanis, though, was the only Cougar to have double-digit kills.
The Cardinals had seven aces – four more than the Cougars – with Ball adding two aces. BYU outside attacker Luke Benson committed a match-worst five reception errors on 13 serves.
Jenness did not commit a reception error on 24 BYU serves, while Ndavazocheva had one error on a team-high 26 service receptions.