Lauren Bosco | Posted: 4 Feb 2023 | Updated: 25 Feb 2023

Cougars fall 3-1 to No. 8 Ball State, split the series 1-1

main image
Cougars lose 3-1

MUNCIE, Ind. — No. 11 BYU men’s volleyball battled against No. 8 Ball State Saturday afternoon, falling 3-1 (26-24, 23-25, 19-25, 23-25) for BYU’s second loss to a ranked opponent this season. BYU split the series 1-1 against BSU in Worthen Arena this weekend, defeating the Cardinals in four sets on Thursday.

The Cougars (6-2) finished with more digs (40), assists (49) and kills (52), but the the Cardinals (5-3) were able to capture their first win over a ranked opponent this season, helped by 15 total blocks, while holding BYU to just four.

Set One

Sophomore outside hitter Miks Ramanis opened the first set with back-to-back kills for BYU. He would go on to lead all players with 20 kills. BYU held a substantial lead and had as high as a five-point advantage at 10-5 and 11-6. When BSU’s outside hitter Tinaishe Ndavazocheva had an attack error, head coach Donan Cruz took a timeout at 13-8. The Cougars reached their biggest lead of the set at 15-9 after a service ace by Kupono Brown.

Ball State lessened BYU’s lead in the latter half of the second set, going on a 3-0 run leading to a BYU timeout at 17-14, with the Cougars still in the lead. Ball State rallied to 17-16 after back-to-back kills and a service ace. The Cardinals inched their way to a tie at 22-22, after a kill by Ball Dyer and service ace from Connor Mason.

For the next three points, there were three service errors in a row,  with the score at 25-24 for BYU. The Cardinals would never lead at any point during set one, and the Cougars finished at 26-24 in extra points.

Ramanis led the Cougars with six kills on a .400 clip in the first set, with the Cougars hitting .310 as a whole. Both teams struggled on the service line as there were a combined 15 service errors in the first set.

Set Two

Ball State came with force in set two, going on a 3-0 run and leading at 5-3. The Cougars would trail until they reached a tie at 10-10 from a Cardinal attack error. BYU evened the score four more times but the Cardinals gained a 15-13 lead after an attack error by BYU's Luke Benson, leading to a media timeout.

Outside hitters Benson and Ramanis then both recorded a kill, taking the score to 15-15. BYU eventually seized its first lead of the set at 16-15 courtesy of a Gavin Julien and Heath Hughes block. What seemed like a pivotal moment for a BYU comeback, the Cougars went on a 3-0 run to take a lead at 20-18. Ramanis got his ninth kill of the match followed by two BSU attacking errors.

The Cardinals reached another tie at 20-20, forcing BYU to take a timeout. Browne had an attack error, for a 21-20 BSU lead. The Cougars had to burn another timeout when they were down 23-21. Anthony Cherfan recorded his first kill in a critical moment for BYU to take the score to 24-23, down by one. Ball State took the final timeout of the set in an attempt to ice BYU’s server Browne. BSU finalized set two 25-23 after a kill by Ndavazocheva.

The second set was tied as many as 13 times. Ball State also held BYU to a .154 hitting percentage while the Cardinals recorded 15 kills on a .281 clip.

Set Three

BSU unleashed more of its commanding presence in the third set, leading at 5-1. The Cougars struggled to get the ball over the net, with six errors and a negative hitting percentage, forcing a timeout from the Cougars with the visitors trailing 13-6. 

The Cardinals captured the biggest lead of the match at 19-11. Cougars Trent Moser and Julien then recorded back-to-back kills for a 19-13 score. BYU wouldn’t be able to build enough momentum to capture an edge, and the Cardinals won set three at 25-19 for a 2-1 lead. 

Set Four

BYU began with a 2-0 lead, featuring a Hughes service ace. Ramanis got his 17th kill of the day when the score went to 9-8 in favor of BYU. Ball State would get the next three points causing a BYU timeout. The Cougars would take another timeout after the Cardinals went on a 3-0 run, being down by five points at 16-11.

The Cougars looked to take the game to five sets, down by only three at 20-17, and Ball State took a time out. BSU's Ndavazocheva then cemented three more kills, finishing with a team-high of 19. The Cardinals won the set 25-23 after a service error by Julien.

Next week, BYU will host UC Santa Barbara who recently defeated No. 5 Pepperdine 3-2 on Friday. The first matchup of the series between the Cougars and the Gauchos will be on Friday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. MST, streaming on the BYUtv app.

Recent Stories

Trent Moser to FIVB 2023 World Championship
Moser added to 2023 FIVB Men's U21 World Championship Roster

BYU men's volleyball freshman outside hitter Trent Moser has been added to the official travel roster for the 2023 FIVB…

Trent Moser on preliminary roster for U21 Pan American Cup
Moser added to USA Volleyball roster for the U21 Pan American Cup

USA Volleyball announced that 12 current and incoming NCAA men’s volleyball players have been selected to the U.S.…