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On campus

Mastodons face tough test

Matos

Had it been that long; 11 matches between IPFW volleyball victories over Ball State?

“I didn’t realize it had been that long,” IPFW coach Arnie Ball said of Saturday’s 3-1 win over his alma mater. “Hopefully, we’ll have developed some momentum going into this weekend.”

Counting back-to-back wins over Quincy the week before, the Mastodons (13-12, 5-5 MIVA) bring a three-match winning streak into Friday’s meeting with defending national champion and MIVA-leading Ohio State (18-8, 8-3) at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

IPFW returns to the Gates Center to face Loyola at 7 p.m. Saturday in the final regular-season match. The MIVA tournament begins April 21.

Whether IPFW will be playing host to, most likely, Grand Canyon in the first round of the playoffs – or vice versa – remains to be decided. One IPFW win this weekend, coupled with a pair of Grand Canyon (15-14, 5-5) losses at second-place Lewis (21-6, 7-3) would provide the Mastodons an April 21 home match against the Antelopes. Should IPFW and Grand Canyon tie in the standings, Grand Canyon would play host to the first-round game by virtue of its two-match sweep March 16 and 17.

But Ball says first things first. And first comes Ohio State.

“They’re not nearly as good as they were last year, and the league shows that,” Ball said. “They’re really a two-man team (Shawn Sangrey, with 427 kills and Mik Berzins, with 218). Sangrey is their All-American opposite (hitter). He’s got umpteen million swings, and if he’s on, they’re very difficult to beat. If he struggles … they’re a pretty average team. It depends on whether Shawn shows up or not.”

And to add hope for IPFW, the same Ball State team that lost to the Mastodons last weekend defeated Ohio State.

“I think we match up (with Ohio State) OK,” Ball said. “There’s no reason why we can’t go over there and participate in a really good volleyball match. And we’ve always played well at Ohio State.”

And finally, the Mastodons played well against Ball State.

“Personally, I know I was really hungry, and I know the rest of the guys were, as well,” said senior Ivan Matos, who had 13 kills against the Cardinals. “They were saying the same thing that I was – that we were going to fight, no matter what happened. … We had a couple of rough patches during the game, but we still kept fighting, and we were able to come out with a win, especially in the second game when we were down and they had game point, and we rallied off three or four points to win. That was important for our momentum.”

Athletes of note

Antonio Vickery (Snider) signed a letter of intent to run hurdles at Indiana Tech. … Tech junior Adella

King was named NAIA national women’s track athlete of the week in addition to being named WHAC women’s track athlete of the week. At the North Carolina State University-Raleigh Relays recently, King broke her school record in the 100-meter dash with an 11.26 – one of the top 10 fastest times in the world this year. She also ran on the 400 relay team that tied for first, and her 200-meter time of 23.35 could qualify her for the USA Olympic trials. … Payton Schultz (Bellmont) plans to sign a national letter of intent to play volleyball for Indianapolis. … Abby Saalfrank (Heritage) plans to sign a national letter of intent to play volleyball for Eastern Illinois. … Three members of the Concordia volleyball team will sign letters of intent to play college volleyball today. Marah Bradbury will attend Eastern Illinois. Allie Miller is headed to Louisville. Skylar Wright is going to IUPUI.

Steve Warden covers area colleges for The Journal Gazette. He may be reached via email at stwarden@jg.net, or by phone at 260-461-8477, or by fax at 260-461-8648.

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