Ohio State 3, Fort Wayne 0
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The Ohio State University men's volleyball team (20-4, 11-2 MIVA) captured its 26th Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association regular season championship by sweeping past the 15th-ranked Mastodons of Fort Wayne (17-10, 5-8 MIVA) in straight sets (25-18, 25-23, 25-16). The No. 7 Buckeyes also clinched the conference tournament's top seed and will face No. 12 Ball State Saturday evening with an outright title on the line.
Ohio State extended its winning streak to nine matches overall and has stretched the MIVA title winning sprint to three seasons in a row.
The Buckeyes attacked .455 as a team behind the three-headed monster of Jake Hanes, Maxime Hervoir and Nicolas Szerszen at the pins and from the back row. Nick Laffin and Blake Leeson combined for eight kills on 17 error-free attempts in the middle.
Sanil Thomas divvied up 40 assists while pacing the squad with eight digs.
Ball State 3, McKendree 0
MUNCIE, Ind.—In the first round of the last weekend of regular season play, the 12th ranked Ball State men's volleyball team welcomed the McKendree Bearcats into Worthen Arena Friday night. In a revenge match, the Cardinals took down McKendree in a 3-0 sweep (25-17, 25-15, 25-20), marking the second consecutive sweep for Ball State.
Ball State was able to notch 46 kills for a .309 hitting percentage while holding the Bearcats to only a .012 hitting percentage on 20 kills. The Cardinals also had 38 digs, 12 total team blocks and four service aces on the night.
Matt Szews led the team with his third double-double of the season. He had 14 kills for a .357 hitting percentage along with 10 digs. Mitch Weiler had the highest hitting percentage for the match after hitting for .562 on nine kills. Weiler also had three digs and three blocks on the night. Ben Chinnici had eight kills with seven added by Matt Walsh. Walsh also had six blocks and one service ace against the Bearcats. Parker Swartz added six kills, three block assists and the only two solo blocks for the Cardinals. Jake Romano had 38 assists, seven digs and two kills. Nick LaVanchy, along with Szews, led the team in digs with 10.
In the opening set, Ball State came out hot and quickly took the lead. The Cardinals took the set, 25-17. Szews led the set with six of the team's 20 kills. Chinnici marked four kills with two added Swartz, Romano and Walsh. Ball State had 17 assists, 17 digs, four block assists and a .351 hitting percentage.
The fire continued for Ball State, scoring five straight points to start set number two. After tallying 13 kills and 12 blocks, the Cardinals were able to take the second set 25-15. Ball State was also able to hold the Bearcats to only five kills for a negative hitting percentage. Weiler and Szews each had four kills in that set.
Ball State got off to a powerful start again in the third set, putting the first four points on the board. Those four points came off a service ace, a Chinnici kill and two Szews kills. This set saw three tied scores and two lead changes, but the Cardinals eventually took the set, 25-20. Ball State had 13 kills, 11 digs, 3.5 team blocks, and three service aces in the closing set.
Ball State now moves to 16-11 overall and 9-4 in the MIVA standings. The Cardinals will continue the battle for their place in the conference rankings with a huge match tomorrow (April 7) against the two-time defending champions Ohio State. The seventh ranked Buckeyes will come to Worthen for a 7:30 p.m. match time. The three Ball State seniors will be honored prior to the match.