The service game for No. 11 BYU resulted in another road upset.
BYU finished with nine aces as it rallied to beat No. 8/9 Ball State 24-26, 25-23, 25-21, 27-25 on Thursday in Muncie, Indiana, to open a two-match non-conference series.
This performance was one ace shy of tying season high for the Cougars (6-1, 0-0 MPSF). BYU had 10 aces in a five-game victory against No. 7/6 UC Irvine on Friday for its first of two consecutive wins versus top-10 nationally ranked teams.
BYU had a match-best four aces in the fourth game to secure the win against Ball State, including middle attacker Gavin Julien having an ace in overtime to set up the match-point.
Julien led all players with three aces and was one of three Cougars with multiple aces. Both opposite Kupono Browne and outside attacker Miks Ramanis added two aces.
Ball State (4-3, 0-0 MIVA) had two aces and 16 service errors – nine more service errors than the Cougars.
Despite the loss, Ball State out-hit BYU .353 to .287 and hit more than .400 in two of the four games.
Outside attacker Tinaishe Ndavazocheva led all players with 24 kills on a .476 attack percentage. Ndavazocheva had a game-high seven kills in the team’s first-game win and did not commit an attack error until late the second game.
All-American outside attacker Kaleb Jenness also had 19 kills, while middle attacker Vanis Buckholz added nine kills and zero errors on a .643 attack percentage.
Ball State out-blocked BYU 12 to 9.5 with Buckholz having a team-high six blocks.
BYU had three players with double-digit kills, including Ramanis who had 16 kills on a .333 attack percentage. In addition, outside attacker Luke Benson had 15 kills and hit .429 and Browne contributed 13 kills.
BYU overcame late-game deficits to win both the third and fourth games.
The Cougars trailed 19-17 in the third game before going on a 7-0 run that featured two aces from Ramanis. BYU also fought off two game-points in the fourth game and won the match in overtime on a Ball State attack error.
This loss ends Ball State’s four-match winning streak and a 12-match home winning streak that dated back to last season.