COLUMBUS, Ohio - - The 15th-ranked Ball State men’s volleyball team saw its four-match winning streak come to an end with a 3-0 (30-26, 30-26, 30-19) setback at the hands of No. 11 Ohio State Friday evening at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
With the loss, the Cardinals fall to 17-10 (6-5 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) on the year and need a win over No. 13 Loyola tomorrow for a chance to secure the No. 3 seed in the upcoming MIVA tournament. The Buckeyes, who improve to 19-7 (11-1 MIVA), secure the No. 1 seed and a first round bye in the league tournament with the victory.
Senior Eric Schulte (Shorewood, Wis./Shorewood H.S.) was the Cardinals’ top attacker in the match, posting 12 kills and a .450 (12-3-20) attack percentage. Junior J.D. Gasparovic (St. Louis, Mo./Oakville H.S.) finished second on the team with seven kills and a .385 (7-2-13) rate of success.
The Cardinals suffered the setback despite out-blocking the Buckeyes 14.0 to 6.5. Gasparovic led all players with seven blocks in the contest. In the backcourt, BSU senior libero Billy Ebel (Lenexa, Kan./Bishop Miege H.S.) paced all players with a match-high seven digs.
John Klanac paced all players with a match-high 18 kills, while Shawn Sangrey added 17 including 10 in the first frame alone. Mik Berzins led the OSU defense with six digs.
Overall, the Buckeyes managed to out-high the Cardinals .318 (46-19-85) to .139 (34-23-79) in the match, despite the lopsided blocking totals.
While a kills from Ethan Pheister (Shorewood, Wis./Shorewood H.S.) and Gasparovic helped the Cardinals pull out to a 2-1 lead in the opening game, two straight BSU errors and back-to-back kills from the Buckeyes gave the hosts a three-point lead at 5-2. After the teams traded the next 14 points, an ace from Sangrey pushed the OSU lead to four and forced a Ball State timeout at 13-9.
With the Cardinals trailing 16-11, a kill from Anders Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis./St. Croix Falls H.S.) sparked a 3-0 run which brought BSU back within two at 16-14. Larry Wrather (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forrest H.S.) added an ace in the run, while Nelson and Pheister capped the rally with a block. After three kills from Sangrey helped extend the Ohio State lead back to four, at 19-15, an ace from Pheister and a Lee Meyer (Cincinnati, Ohio/Moeller H.S.) solo block forced the Buckeyes to call timeout with a 19-18 lead.
A Gasparovic kill after the break tied the score at 19, while three rallies later, a Meyer ace gave Ball State a 21-20 edge. A Ball State attack error tied the score on the next play, and from there, the teams battled to a 25-25 stalemate. Another BSU attack error followed by a solo block from Sangrey solo block forced the Cardinals to call their final timeout trailing 27-25. Sangrey went on to add kills on three of the next four rallies to earn a 30-26 victory in the set.
Sangrey was a Cardinal killer in the opening frame, blasting 10 kills, an ace and a solo block. Overall, Ohio State hit .281 (15-6-32) in the game, while limiting the Cardinals to a .156 (14-9-32) rate of success. Schulte led the Cardinals with five kills and a 1.000 (5-0-5) attack percentage in the game.
The teams traded the first four points of the second game, before another Sangrey kill and a BSU attack error helped Ohio State pull ahead 4-2. The Cardinals would draw within one point on several occasions, including after a Gasparovic and Schulte block at 11-10. However, a Klanac kill and back-to-back attack errors led to Ball State calling timeout trailing 14-10.
The Cardinals scored the first two points after the break, only to have a Steven Kehoe service ace helped extend the lead back to four at 17-13. A Gasparovic solo block helped bring BSU back within two at 19-17, and after Ohio State reclaimed its four-point lead, a block assist from Gasparovic and Wrather led to Ohio State’s first timeout at 26-24.
The Buckeyes responded with four of the next six points, including two kills from Klanac, to win the game 30-26. Ohio State hit .286 (16-8-28) in the second game, compared to a .259 (13-6-27) rate of success for the Cardinals. Klanac added a team-high seven kills for the Buckeyes in the second game, while Schulte once again paced the Cardinals with six.
Ohio State jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third set and went on to force an early Ball State timeout at the 6-1 mark after a Sangrey blast. The Cardinals would never recover, falling behind by 10 points at 23-13, before losing the frame 30-19 on a Ball State attack error.
The Buckeyes finished the final game with a .400 (15-5-25) attack percentage, while limiting the Cardinals offense to a -.050 (7-8-20) hitting mark. Klanac added seven more kills for the Buckeyes in the final game.
The No. 15 Ball State men’s volleyball team returns action Saturday, when it hosts No. 13 Loyola in the final match of the regular season. Following the match, the Cardinals will honor its four-member senior class which includes Pheister, Schulte, Ebel and Matt Sprague (Ballwin, Mo./Marquette H.S.).