Men’s Volleyball Drops Five Set Thriller to Ball State

White notched his third double-double in four games against Ball State. (Gil Talbot)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Senior Casey White recorded his third double-double of the season with 13 kills and 10 digs, but the Harvard men's volleyball team (1-3, 0-0 EIVA) fell in five sets to Ball State (5-1, 0-0 MIVA) inside Malkin Athletic Center. The Cardinals won by set scores of 25-20, 23-25, 25-17, 20-25, and 15-13.

Junior Marko Kostich added a season-high 32 assists, freshman Erik Johnsson added 10 kills and six digs, and freshman Chase Howard led Harvard with two service aces.

The Crimson forced a decisive fifth set by holding a five-point advantage throughout the fourth frame. White split Ball State's defense with four kills, while two blocks from Riley Moore held the Cardinals to a .237 attack percentage.

In the fifth set, Harvard and Ball State traded points, with neither team leading by more than one through the first 12 points. Ball State finally started to pull away late, but Harvard fought back. Down 9-13, the Crimson went on a four-point run, but were unable to catch the Cardinals for the match point.

Ball State and Harvard were neck and neck during the first set, when a kill from Brendan Surane gave the Cardinals an 18-16 advantage. The Cardinals would extend their lead to five points at the conclusion of the first set with a kill from Matt Walsh.

The Crimson played a much cleaner second set, with 12 kills and just two attack errors in a very tightly contested frame. Just three points away from winning the set, Howard notched two consecutive kills to give Harvard the edge they needed. Then White added a kill down the center of the court to even the match at 1-1.

Despite four kills and one block from White, the Crimson were unable to connect during the third set, tallying nine kills and seven attack errors.

Harvard will continue on its five-game stretch at home, hosting Alderson Broaddus Feb. 4 at 4 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Ivy League Digital Network.

To watch the full game, please see the Ivy League Digital Network