FORT WAYNE, Ind. – No. 14 Purdue Fort Wayne took down in-state rival Ball State 3-1 (25-18, 21-25, 25-20, 25-22) on Friday (Feb. 21). Sean Califf recorded a career-high 44 assists in his first-ever collegiate start.
The Mastodons took the lead early 2-1 in set one. Richie Diedrich and Califf held off the Cardinals offense with two blocks, allowing the Mastodons to go on a three-point run and advancing to a 6-3 lead. Jon Diedrich recorded two kills and had a block with his brother, pacing another run for the Mastodons that pushed the lead to 14-6. With Ball State hitting -.038, Purdue Fort Wayne took set one 25-18 with seven team blocks.
Ball State took off early in set two and never trailed. Pelegrin Vargas had two kills in a row, allowing the ‘Dons to tie up the set at five. Later on, two errors by Ball State and a kill by Richie Diedrich during a three-point run wasn’t enough for the ‘Dons, and the Cardinals took set two 25-21.
Purdue Fort Wayne came out in set three with a four-point run and had the lead 5-2. Richie Diedrich had two kills and a block during the run and the Cardinals had two attack errors. A five-point run came up for the Mastodons with two blocks by Richie Diedrich and one block by Califf, pushing the ‘Dons’ lead to 16-9. Ball State tallied seven attack errors after three Purdue Fort Wayne blocks, and Jon Diedrich closed out the set with a kill, allowing the ‘Dons to end set three 25-20.
The momentum kept coming for Purdue Fort Wayne in set four as Tomas Gago and Carlos Mercado had a kill apiece and Jon Diedrich had the first Mastodon ace of the match, advancing to a 9-5 early lead. Vargas recorded the second ace for the ‘Dons and took a five-point lead at 15-10. Ball State couldn’t hold on and Purdue Fort Wayne ended the fourth and final set 25-22 after Carlos Mercado had a kill between the Cardinal blockers.
Notable Ball State Individual Stats
Kaleb Jenness: 17 kills, 10 digs
Quinn Isaacson: 48 assists, two aces
Felix Egharevba: six blocks
Califf had a career-high 44 assists in his first collegiate start.
Mercado had a career-high nine kills and eight digs in his first start.
Vargas is one dig shy of 500 digs.
The Mastodons out-hit the Cardinals .345-.248.
No. 14 Purdue Fort Wayne elevates to a record of 7-4, 2-2 MIVA as the Cardinals fall to a record of 8-5, 1-2 MIVA. The Mastodons will host Ohio State on Saturday (Feb. 22) at 7 p.m. ET.