No. 7/4 Ball State holds off Purdue Fort Wayne to win MIVA regular season title

Photo courtesy of Ball State athletics

It’s not easy to win a regular season championship – especially when playing an in-state rival.

No. 7/4 Ball State fought off multiple late-game comebacks from Purdue Fort Wayne to win 33-31, 19-25, 25-22, 29-27 on Saturday in Fort Wayne, Indiana and clinch the MIVA regular season championship.

The Cardinals rebounded from the Mastodons erasing a late two-point deficit in the first game and a five-point deficit midway through the fourth game to win both games in overtime. In addition, Ball State survived three game-points in the fourth game before closing out the match with middle attacker Vnis Buckholz having a kill and block on back-to-back plays.

This is the first time Ball State (20-3, 12-2 MIVA) has won a MIVA Tournament regular season championship since 2002. The Cardinals also will be the No. 1 seed and have home court advantage throughout all three rounds of the upcoming MIVA Tournament.


Outside attacker Kaleb Jenness finished with a team-high 21 kills on a .391 attack percentage against Purdue Fort Wayne (15-12, 6-8 MIVA). Jenness, who entered the weekend second in the nation with a 4.65 kills per game average, now has four matches this season with at least 20 kills.

Opposite Angelos Mandilaris contributed 15 kills, including six kills in the opening game win. The graduate student also had a match-high four aces.

Ball State had more than a .300 attack percentage in each of the final two games but was out-hit for the match .277 to .275.

Opposite Jon Diedrich in the loss finished with a match-high 25 kills. Diedrich, though, was the only Mastodon to have double-digit kills.

The Cardinals out-blocked the Mastodons 14.5 to 5 with middle attacker Felix Egharevba having a match-high six blocks. Setter Quinn Isaacson also had five blocks, while Jenness, Buckholz and Will Hippe each added four blocks.

Purdue Fort Wayne with this loss drops to the No. 6 seed and will travel to play the No. 3 seed McKendree in the MIVA Tournament quarterfinals next weekend. Ball State as the top-seed with play host to last-place and MIVA winless Quincy in the quarterfinals.

Ball State entered this regular season finale tied for first place with No. 11/10 Loyola and because of tiebreakers needed help to secure the outright regular season title and the No. 1 seed. However, Ball State remained in contention after Ohio State upset Loyola in the afternoon.