Broom Goes the Dynamite: No. 15 Ball State sweeps No. 1/1 Hawai’i for historic upset win

Photo courtesy of Ball State athletics

Donan Cruz four matches into his tenure as the Ball State head coach now has a signature win.

The win was so big, though, it goes beyond Cruz and is a signature moment in the 58-year history of one of college men’s volleyball’s most storied programs.

No. 15 Ball State hit .410 as it swept the defending NCAA champions No. 1/1 Hawai’i 25-20, 25-18, 25-19 in a match-up between undefeated teams on Saturday in Muncie, Indiana

This is the first time Ball State (3-0, 0-0 MIVA) has defeated a No. 1 ranked team since upsetting UCLA in 1995. It also is the third time since 2010 that the Cardinals have defeated a top-five nationally ranked team.

All-MIVA outside attacker Kaleb Jenness finished with a match-high 19 kills on a .467 attack percentage against the Rainbow Warriors (4-1, 0-0 Big West). Jenness did not commit an attack error until early in the second game and had at least six kills in each of the three games.


Along with Jenness, opposite Angelos Mandilaris contributed 14 kills and hit .385. Mandilaris, a former ConfCarolinas Offensive Player of the Year, was making his second start for Ball State after transferring from Barton in 2020 and missing the entire 2021 season with an injury.

Jenness and Mandilaris were the only Cardinals with more than five kills in the team’s first win against the Rainbow Warriors since 2011.

Setter Quinn Isaacson guided the Ball State offense to a match-best .517 attack percentage in the opening game, and then in the final game the setter helped the team hit .429.

The Rainbow Warriors did not hit more than .200 in any game and were limited to a season-low .159 attack percentage. Hawai’i was without multiple starters in its first road match of the season, including Preseason All-American setter Jakob Thelle.

Pin-hitters Dimitrios Mouchlias, Spyros Chakas and Kanai’i Akana each led Hawai’i with six kills.

Ball State and Hawai’i were each held to one ace in the opener of their two-match non-conference series. Jenness to accompany the offensive performance was one of three Cardinals to have more than 10 service receptions and zero reception errors.

Outside attacker Nick Martinski in the victory also led all players defensively with both 12 digs and three blocks.

This was the Rainbow Warriors’ fourth regular season loss since 2019. In addition, the loss ended Hawai’i’s 17-match winning streak against MIVA teams dating back to 2014.