Men’s Volleyball Hosts George Mason Friday Night In Worthen Arena

Ball State (2-0, 0-0 MIVA) vs. George Mason (1-1, 0-0 EIVA)

Friday, Jan. 19 (7pm ET)

ESPN+ | Live Stats

Last meeting: Ball State 3, George Mason 1 (1/23/21)

Series History: Ball State leads 45-30

NEW ERA: The Ball State men’s volleyball program will open the Donan Cruz era Thursday night with a 7 pm first serve versus Maryville … Prior to taking over the helm of the Cardinals, Cruz was a four-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Coach of the Year at Grand View University … Just the fourth head coach in the storied history of Ball State men’s volleyball, Cruz led the inaugural Grand View men’s team to a 13-13 mark in 2012 season, on his way to compiling a 211-55 overall record with the Vikings … He concluded his Grand View career with the best winning percentage in NAIA men’s volleyball history at .793.

ALSO NEW ON THE STAFF: Joining Cruz on the Ball State staff are Midwestern Volleyball Association (MIVA) standout and former Lewis University star Mike Iandolo and BYU men’s volleyball alumnus Christian Rupert … Iandolo was a two-time All-MIVA First Team selection and spent the last three season as the head coach at the University of Charleston … Rupert helped lead the Cougars to a pair of appearances NCAA Division I/II Men’s Volleyball Championship Match, and following a brief professional career, spent two seasons as a volunteer assistant at Princeton.

SCOUTING GEORGE MASON: The Patriots come to Muncie for the first time since Feb. 10, 2019. The Cardinals won that meeting at Worthen Arena in a 3-2 five-set thriller. Last year Ball State and George Mason split a two-match non-conference series with the Patriots beating the Cardinals on Jan. 22 by a score of 3-2 and then Ball State took the second match by a score of 3-1 on Jan. 23. George Mason enters the game with a 1-1 overall record with a 3-0 defeat over Barton College and a 3-2 loss to Mount Olive. Redshirt OPP Jack Bolz leads George Mason offensively with 25 kills this season.

CARDINAL RECAP: The Cardinals have opened its season with a 2-0 ledger for the first time since the 2020 season that year Ball State started off with a 3-0 record. Ball State earned 3-0 sweeps over Maryville and Tusculum last week at Worthen Arena. Currently, the Cardinals are led offensive by junior Bryce Behrendt who had 19 kills last week. As a team, the Cardinals had 24 service aces led by graduate senior setter Quinn Isaacson who had eight. He also dished out a career best 25 assists on Saturday, Jan. 15 against Tusculum.

ISAACSON AND JENNESS NAMED PRESEASON ALL-MIVA: B Graduate senior setter Quinn Isaacson(Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) and senior outside attacker Caleb Jenness (Mount Pleasant, SC/Wando) earned spots on the Preseason All-MIVA Team (Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) while the Cardinals were picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll. Last season, Isaacson earned All-MIVA First Team accolades for the first time in his career after being named to the second team in 2020. He finished the 2021 season ranked second in the MIVA in assists (800), while averaging 10.81 per set. He was also fifth in digs (143) and service aces (24). Isaacson also earned All-MIVA Defensive Player of the Week accolades for the week of Feb. 23, 2021. This is the second-straight year Jenness has been named to the preseason All-MIVA squad. A two-time All-MIVA First Team honoree, Jenness ranked second on the team in kills (260) and third in blocks (48) last season. He recorded double-digit kills for the Cardinals in 16 contests, including a season-best 21 at Ohio State on March 11, 2021. Jenness was named MIVA Offensive Player of Week on Feb. 23 for his performance against Lindenwood.

NEXT MATCH: Ball State remains home next weekend with a two-match series against volleyball powerhouse Hawai’i on Saturday, Jan. 29 and Monday, Jan. 31. Both matches are scheduled for 7 pm ET first served at Worthen Arena.

WE HAD TO SAY GOOD-BYE TO A LEGEND THIS YEAR: dr. Don Shondell, an iconic figure in the sport of volleyball who founded the men’s program at Ball State University, passed away on Nov. 24. He was 92. Shondell, a 1952 and 1956 Ball State graduate, had an illustrious career that was long and varied as a coach, professor, and author. He formed the first men’s club volleyball team at Ball State in 1960, and would spend the next four years working tirelessly to make men’s volleyball a varsity sport. The team earned varsity status in 1964, and over his 34 seasons at the helm of the program, Dr. Shondell accumulated a career record of 769-280-6 (.732), affording him the second-most wins by a head coach in NCAA men’s volleyball history. His 769 career wins are the most by a Ball State coach in any sport. dr. Shondell received Coach of the Year honors eight times from the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA), the conference of which he was a co-founder and first president. dr. Shondell led Ball State to 19 regular season MIVA titles, 12 MIVA Tournament championships, and 13 NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship tournament berths.

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