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New emotion, lineup gives IPFW volleyball first conference win

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Sunday, February 03, 2013 12:01 am
The frustration boiled over for coach Arnie Ball as he watched his IPFW men's volleyball team play Saturday.With IPFW's lead dwindling against Quincy in the third game, the Hall of Fame coach delivered a swift kick to the press row marquee that could be heard throughout the Gates Center.

It was a reaction Ball has commonly had throughout his 32 years coaching at IPFW — and so was the response of his players.

IPFW (4-3, 1-1 MIVA) rallied to maintain its lead in the third game and went on to defeat Quincy 25-18, 17-25, 25-21, 25-15 for its first conference victory of the season.

In many ways, though, the win was a quintessential Ball type match: high emotions from both teams and even players being reprimanded by officials for unsportsmanlike conduct.

"I'm a throw back to the old days, so I like that stuff. The officials don't like that," Ball said. "The game needs some of that. Our team needs some of that. We don't have enough of that emotion some times. There is nothing wrong with a little trash talking as long as it doesn't get physical."

Ball in the victory used a new starting lineup, opting to start Keegan Robbins at setter in place of Omar Rivera after IPFW had a season-low .115 attack percentage in a conference loss to Lindenwood on Friday.

Robbins in his second career start helped IPFW out-hit Quincy .273 to .200, including a team-best .360 attack percentage in the opening game. The sophomore also added a match-high two aces against the Hawks (4-5, 0-2 MIVA).

Ball said he was happy with how Robbins ran IPFW's offense and the way he was able to get the Mastodons' outside attackers and middle attackers involved in the offense.

"He just bring a simplicity. He sets a ball that we can hit," Ball said. "Omar tries to get cute part of the time and tries to do things that we're not capable of doing and it's costing us points. Keegan is just more conservative. ... Right now we just need someone that can put a ball out there that we can hit."

IPFW had three players finish the match with at least seven kills. Outside attacker Eddie Rivera had a team-high 13 kills, while outside attacker Andy Sellan had 10 kills and middle attacker Rob Samp added seven kills.

Robbins said the team entering the match placed an emphasis on running a more balanced offense than it ran earlier in the season.

"We talked about it before the game. We just said something's got to change. We got to do something different," Robbins said. "We didn't have any idea what but we were just kind of going on the fly to pull it out."

IPFW following this victory will be off for the next 10 days before it plays in-state rival Ball State (7-0, 2-0 MIVA).

Ball said he is unsure as of now whether Robbins would remain the starter when the Mastodons play the Cardinals.

With this victory against Quincy, IPFW avoids losing its first two conference matches and falling to last place in the MIVA.

Robbins said beating Quincy was critical for the team, especially as it enters its upcoming conference road trip that includes conference matches against Ball State, Ohio State and Loyola.

"Going 0-2 it's really hard to come back from because their are so many good teams in the MIVA," Robbins said. "This was extremely important."


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