Cardinals In The Crowd

February 8 – February 15

By: Alec Runyan / Ball State Sports Link

Kaleb Jenness – Volleyball

The Ball State men’s volleyball team continued its dominant ways as the Cardinals opened up MIVA conference play with two big road wins last week, including a 3-0 sweep at No. 6 Lewis University. 

Senior outside attacker Kaleb Jenness led the Cardinals offensive attack with 36 kills (17,19) between the two matches. Jenness has now notched double-digit kills in seven straight matches and has posted 12 or more kills in every match he’s played in at least three sets.

The two-time All-MIVA First Teamer, Jenness, is currently second in the conference with 4.80 kills per set and third in total kills with 144. Fellow Cardinal, Angelos Mandilaris leads the conference with 4.83 kills per set on 87 kills.

The No. 7 ranked Cardinals return home to take on instate rival Purdue Fort Wayne Thursday, February 17 at 7 p.m. 

Kayla Lissy – Softball 

The Ball State softball team got its 2022 season underway playing in the DePaul Tournament inside the Rosemont Dome last weekend. Despite going just 1-4, the Cardinals found themselves in several close games throughout the weekend. 

Sophomore Kayla Lissy leads Ball State in total bases (12), hits (8), runs (5), and batting average (.471) after the team’s first five games. Lissy was also one of five Cardinals (Hensley, Timmons, Wynn, Armendariz) to hit a home run as well. 

In game one Friday, Lissy was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with a walk and two stolen bases. The second year shortstop Lissy recorded at least one hit every game, giving her a five-game hitting streak to begin the new season. 

The Cardinals hit the road again this weekend, this time to Rock Hill, South Carolina for the Winthrop Kickoff Tournament. Ball State will play five more games beginning at 10 o’clock Friday morning against Robert Morris. 

Payton Sparks – Basketball

Freshman center Payton Sparks has quickly turned into a key piece for Ball State on both ends of the floor. Leading the Cardinals in both points (13.3) and rebounds (8.2), Sparks appears to be a contender, if not frontrunner for MAC Freshman of the Year. 

The big man from Winchester leads all freshmen in the conference in points, rebounds, and field goal percentage (.541), as well as being third in total rebounds amongst all MAC players. 

Dating back to December 21 at Eastern Illinois- Sparks has put up double-digit points in 15 straight games, 14 of which have been MAC games. Most recently, Sparks has posted five double-doubles in the Cardinals’ last six games. 

Despite a three-game losing skid, Sparks strong play continues as the Cardinals chase down a spot in the MAC tournament. Ball State is currently sixth in the conference with five games remaining in the regular season. 

The Cardinals (11-14, 6-8 MAC) look to bounce back this Saturday, February 19 at Bowling Green (12-14, 5-10 MAC) tipping off at 5 p.m.

Taylor Waldo – Gymnastics 

The Ball State gymnastics team was without several key contributors during Sunday’s meet with Bowling Green, giving the opportunity for others to step up. 

Among those to step up was junior Taylor Waldo who competed in the all-around for the first time in her collegiate career. Waldo, who typically competes in beam and floor, made her first appearance in both bars and vault as well. 

Waldo finished the meet with the second-highest team score with a 38.050, including a tie for her career-best on beam (9.850). 

“We had several individuals step up in a big way today,” head coach Joanna Saleem said following the loss. “I was really impressed with Taylor Waldo’s effort, as she competed in the all-around for the first time in her career. She turned in really impressive results under the circumstances and provided a huge spark for our team.”

The Cardinals will remain home this weekend for the team’s last home meet of the year as they take on Eastern Michigan beginning at 1 p.m. The meet can also be found on ESPN+ presented by Ball State Sports Link.

Author: Alec Runyan