Outside attacker Kaleb Jenness saved the best performance for when No. 7/4 Ball State needed it the most to avoid an upset loss to a rival.
Jenness had six of a career-high 31 kills in the decisive fifth game as Ball State rallied to beat Purdue Fort Wayne 25-21, 26-28, 23-25, 25-20, 15-6 on Thursday in Muncie, Indiana.
The All-MIVA senior finished the conference match hitting .636. In addition, Jenness tied the Ball State record for kills in a single match during the rally scoring era.
Ball State (9-1, 3-0 MIVA) opened the fifth-game on an 8-1 run that featured Jenness having five kills in a six-play span. The Cardinals did not commit an error and hit a match-best .667 attack percentage in the final game to extend its winning streak to four matches and remain undefeated at home.
Setter Quinn Isaacson had 59 assists and guided the offense to out-hit Purdue Fort Wayne .406 to .320.
Ball State, which entered hitting a nation-best .384, had more than a .350 attack percentage in all five games.
Three Cardinals ended with double-digit kills against Purdue Fort Wayne (8-5, 2-1 MIVA). Middle attacker Will Hippe had a season-high 13 kills on a .632 attack percentage, while outside attacker Dyer Ball added 12 kills.
Along with their offense performance, Isaacson had a match-high 17 digs and Jenness contributed 10 digs.
Bryce Walker in the loss led the Mastodons with a season-high 17 kills and hit .441.
The loss ends Purdue Fort Wayne’s four-match winning streak and is its third consecutive loss to Ball State dating back to last season.
Ball State with this victory remains tied for first place in the MIVA. The Cardinals entered this match after earlier this week jumping to No. 4 in the national media poll – their highest ranking in a national poll in program history.