COLUMBUS, Ohio - - The 13th-ranked Ball State men’s volleyball team saw its 2010 season come to an end Wednesday evening with a 3-1 (30-24, 27-30, 30-28, 30-27) setback to No. 10 Ohio State in the semifinal round of the 2010 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament at St. John Arena.
With the loss, the Cardinals end the season with a 19-11 overall record. The Buckeyes, who will host the MIVA Tournament Championship match Saturday, improve to 21-7 with the victory.
In his final match for the Cardinals senior outside attacker Matt Sprague (Ballwin, Mo./Marquette H.S.) smashed a season-high 14 kills to pace the Ball State offense on the evening. Sprague also added six digs and a career-high five block assists, while hitting .333 (14-3-33).
Junior middle blocker J.D. Gasparovic (St. Louis, Mo./Oakville H.S.) also had a strong attacking night for the Cardinals, posting nine kills and a .471 (9-1-17) hitting mark. He also led all players with 10 total blocks, three solo and seven assists.
Senior lilbero Billy Ebel (Lenexa, Kan./Bishop Miege H.S.) added a team-best 10 digs to finish the season with a BSU rally scoring era record 336 digs. The effort raised his career total to 688, which ties with Fernando de Armas (1984-87) as the ninth-best total in program history.
Also playing in their final matches for the Cardinals were seniors Ethan Pheister (Shorewood, Wis./Shorewood H.S.) and Eric Schulte (Shorewood, Wis./Shorewood H.S.). Pheister dished out 38 assists, tallied five digs, smashed four kills and posted two blocks in the loss. Schulte ended the night with nine digs, eight kills and six blocks.
Shawn Sangrey paced all players with 27 kills in the contest, while John Klanac added 14. Steven Kehoe paced the Buckeyes with 12 digs, while adding a match-high 60 assists.
As a team, the Cardinals finished the night with a .179 (49-27-123) attack percentage, while Ohio State hit .247 (67-31-146) in the contest. BSU did hold a 18.5 to 12.0 advantage in team blocks, as well as a 40 to 37 edge in digs.
Thanks in part to a pair of kills from Ohio State’s Jason Tobkin, the Cardinals found themselves in an early 5-1 hole in the opening game. However, two kills and a block assist from Gasparovic helped the Cardinals rally back and tie the game at seven. The Buckeyes responded with the next three points to take a 10-7 lead and force a BSU timeout.
With OSU maintaining a 14-10 lead, a kill from Sprague and an attack error from the hosts cut the BSU disadvantage to two at 14-12. While a kill from Pheister kept the Cardinals within two at 15-13, a 5-2 run from the hosts move the lead to five and led to BSU’s second minute break at 20-15.
Ball State looked poised to climb back into the set after a crafty kill from Sprague forced OSU’s first timeout at 22-18, however back-to-back Buckeye blocks pushed the edge back to six at 24-18. After the teams traded the next two points, a 4-0 run which included another Sprague kill and a Pheister solo block helped the Cardinals play within two at 25-23.
Unfortunately, Ohio State responded with five of the next six points to win the opening frame 30-24. Sprague paced the Cardinals with four kills in the set, while Sangrey tagged five for the Buckeyes. OSU hit .242 (15-7-33) in the opening game, while limiting the Cardinals to a .130 (10-7-23) mark.
The teams traded the first four points of the second game, before kills from Sangrey and Ted Schoenfeldt put the hosts ahead 6-4. Another back-and-forth battled ensued, with the teams trading the next 10 points before a Sangrey ace and an attack error contributed to a Ball State timeout at 13-9.
The Cardinals rallied off the first three points after the break, thanks to a Sprague kill and a pair of blocks both involving Anders Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis./St. Croix Falls H.S.), to battle within one at 13-12. After Ohio State reclaimed a three-point lead at 19-16, the Cardinals were able regain focus and post four of the next five points to tie the game at 20 on a block assist from Nelson and Larry Wrather (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forrest H.S.).
The Buckeyes scored three of the next four points, only to have the Cardinals follow with a 3-1 run of their own to tie the game at 24 causing an Ohio State break. BSU would continue to hold the momentum, as a Wrather kill and a block assist (from Wrather and Gasparovic) gave the Cardinals their first lead of the night at 26-24 and forced OSU’s second timeout of the game.
The Buckeyes managed to tie the game two plays later on a solo block from Tobkin, only to have a costly service error from Kehoe and a block assists from Sprague and Gasparovic extend the lead back to two at 28-26. After a BSU attack error, Sprague landed two straight kills and gave the Cardinals a 30-27 second-game victory.
Wrather and Sprague each landed four kills in the second game, as the Cardinals posted a .235 (13-5-34) attack percentage. Paced by seven total blocks, including four from Gasparovic, the Cardinals defense limited Ohio State to a .179 (16-9-39) rate of success in the game.
The teams battled to an 8-8 stalemate in the third game before a Sangrey kill and a block helped the Buckeyes pull ahead by two at 10-8. Several rallies later, a kill and ace from OSU’s Klanac extended the advantage to four at 15-11. While a service error and a Wrather kill brought the Cardinals back within two at 15-13, a 5-2 run from the hosts caused a Ball State timeout at 20-15.
Trailing 21-15 after a Tobkin ace, the Cardinals posted the next three points as a Gasparovic solo block led to an Ohio State timeout at 21-18. A Gasparovic kill kept the rally alive, while back-to-back hardwood smashes from Jamion Hartley (North Chicago, Ill./North Chicago H.S.) tied the score at 21 and forced the Buckeyes’ second break.
While an OSU block ended the Cardinals run at six points, a kill and block assist from Sprague helped BSU pull ahead 23-22. A Klanac kill knotted the score at 23 on the next play, and from there the teams battled to a 26-26 deadlock. Tobkin would break the tie with a pair of kill swings, as Ball State was forced to utilize its second timeout trailing 28-26.
After a BSU attack error gave the Buckeyes game-point at 29-26, a kill from Wrather and a OSU attack error momentarily kept the Cardinals alive and moved the score to 29-28. Unfortunately, a kill from Ohio State’s Kevin Heine ended the game at 30-28. The Buckeyes used a .364 (17-5-33) to .281 (16-7-32) attacking advantage to escape with the two-point game victory.
Game four started much like the third, with the teams playing to an 8-8 tie before a Sangrey kill and an ace from Kehoe helped the Buckeyes pull ahead 10-8. After trailing by as many as three points, a 4-0 run by Ball State, which included kills from Wrather, Sprague and Gasparovic, helped the guests pull ahead 15-14 and caused an Ohio State timeout.
Ball State ran their point streak to five after the break, only to see the hosts score five of the next six points to pull ahead 19-17. While a pair of kills from Pheister helped keep the Cardinals within one at 22-21, back-to-back BSU attack errors pushed the OSU lead back to three at 24-21. A Wrather kill and a triple block helped Ball State battle back within one at 24-23, only to see Ohio State score the next two points.
The Cardinals would use another block and a Dominic Spadavecchio (Palatine, Ill./William Fremd H.S.) ace to draw back within one at 26-25. A Sprague kill kept the Cardinals within one at 28-27, but Sangrey would blast back-to-back kills to end the game 30-27 and match at 3-1. Ohio State hit .195 (18-10-41) in the final game, while limiting Ball State to a .086 (11-8-35) mark.