Fort Wayne takes Ball State to five sets but fall to Cardinals

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Fort Wayne men’s volleyball team fell to No. 11 Ball State in five sets (25-23, 17-25, 20-25, 25-20, 15-10) on Arnie Ball Court during homecoming weekend (Feb. 10).

Nick Smalter entered the starting lineup for the Mastodons for the second time this season, and delivered a season-high 14 kills on the night. He provided the ‘Dons with a spark that carried over from the matchup earlier in the week against the Cardinals. High energy and stingy defense in the second set tied up the match at one set each. Smalter delivered the final kill of the set to cap off a 7-1 Mastodon run. The ‘Dons held the Cards to -.089 hitting in the second.

Fort Wayne halted a 6-2 run late in the third before closing out the set with a three-point run finished by a Michael Keegan kill. Keegan finished with four kills, while also throwing in 49 assists and five blocks, which tied his career-high.

Graydon Schroeder had another strong hitting night, reaching a .533 clip on nine kills. He also had a season-high-tying six blocks. Colton Stone and Pelegrin Vargas had 14 and 12 kills respectively. Vargas and Scott McNerney each pitched in eight digs.

The ‘Dons fall to 4-11 (1-3 MIVA) while Ball State improves to 11-2 (3-1 MIVA).

The 2007 men’s volleyball team was recognized during the match for its induction into the Fort Wayne Hall of Fame, and Raul Papaleo was honored at the break with the retirement of his No. 9 jersey.

The Mastodons hit the road for a nine-match road trip, starting with matches at Loyola and Lewis on Thursday and Saturday (Feb. 16-18). Fort Wayne returns home on March 31 when they welcome Lindenwold to Arnie Ball Court.