Fairfield, CT – The Sacred Heart men's volleyball team came within a set of upsetting the #12 Ball State Cardinals Saturday night in the William H. Pitt Center. Freshman Enzo Mackenzie (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) notched a match high 23 kills while posting a .364 hitting percentage. Tim Sadowski (Salem, NH) recorded his first double-double of the season with 45 assists and ten digs for the Pioneers.
Sacred Heart (1-2) attacked efficiently in the opening set, dropping in 18 kills and putting up a .342 hitting percentage. Mackenzie led the way with an impressive nine kills and a perfect receiving percentage. The Pioneers rattled off four straight points to take control and gain a 17-13 advantage. The Cardinals would battle back and eventually knotted the set at 21-21 on a SHU error. Mackenzie took back the momentum for Sacred Heart with consecutive kills on the next two points. Bradley Borsay (Richmond, RI) delivered consecutive service aces to put away the first set 25-21 for SHU.
Ball State (3-3) rallied off the bench in the second set and jumped out to an 11-6 cushion. Another 4-0 spurt later in the set put the Cardinals on top 18-11 as Marcus Imwalle added two aces for BSU. Later in the set Sacred Heart took five consecutive points to charge back into the set at 20-18 and force a Ball State timeout. The Cardinals were able to hold of SHU the rest of the way and won the second frame 25-21 with the final points coming on a J.D. Gasparovic kill. Larry Wrather paced the BSU attack, which hit .346 for the set, with five kills in the second stanza.
The Cardinals distanced themselves from the Pioneers in the middle of the third set by taking six of seven rallies to earn a 17-11 advantage. Sacred Heart struggled with just a .190 swinging mark in the set, tallying eight total kills. Imwalle served five straight points for BSU, adding three more service aces, as Ball State went up ten at 23-13. Greg Herceg ended the frame 25-16 for the Cardinals on one of his 11 kills of the night.
The Pioneers responded to having their backs against the wall and exploded onto the court to take a commanding 18-9 lead, forcing Ball State to burn both its timeouts. Mackenzie had five kills in the set while Mike Komlanc (St. Croix, Virgin Islands) added a trio o his own put-aways. The Cardinals refused to go quietly and won seven straight points on the serve of Herceg to cut the Pioneer lead to 20-18. Roger Parent (Burlington, CT) ended the run with one of his seven kills of the match. Borsay and Mackenzie posted the last two SHU points as Pioneers forced a fifth a deciding set with a 25-20 victory in the fourth.
Ball State timed the SHU serve in the fifth set, recording a perfect 100 percent sideout mark. The Cardinals hit .615 in the final frame while one of the Pioneers seven errors of the set ended the match 15-8 in the fifth.
Borsay was a consistent offensive force for Sacred Heart as the freshman tallied a career high 14 kills, including a .273 hitting percentage.
The Sacred Heart men's volleyball team returns to action next Friday night on the road against the University of New Haven. Game time is set for 7:00 pm.