April 8, 2018

Buckeyes Falter in Five-Set Finale

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MUNCIE, Ind. – The No. 7 Ohio State University men’s volleyball team (20-5, 11-3 MIVA) had to settle for a share of the 2018 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) regular season title after dropping a five-setter at No. 12 Ball State (17-11, 10-4 MIVA). The Cardinals’ win not only secured them the MIVA Tournament’s No. 3 seed but also handed No. 8 Loyola Chicago (21-6, 11-3 MIVA) a co-conference championship. The Buckeyes maintain rights to the postseason event’s top seed, however, by way of a ‘total sets won’ tiebreaker with the Ramblers.

It was a tale of two stories inside Worthern Arena with Ohio State dominating the first frame before squeezing out a 25-22 second stanza. Ball State then quickly flipped the script with a 25-22 winner of their own in the third and a 25-17 fourth-set equalizer. Set 5 went the distance, ultimately washing out as a 15-13 triumph for the host Cardinals.

The Buckeyes out-attacked Ball State .263-.179 but shot themselves in the foot with 24 service errors.

Sanil Thomas racked up 18 digs to go along with 49 assists while Nicolas Szerszen and Aaron Samarin also reached double-digit digs with 14 and 13, respectively.

SET 1: The Buckeyes came out blazing hot, hitting at a .600 clip on 17 kills in the opener. Jake Hanes and Maxime Hervoir paired up for 10 kills on 14 error-free attempts and the Buckeyes blew past Ball State 25-16. Ohio State never trailed in the set.

SET 2: Power reigned supreme in the second as the two squads totaled 30 kills despite a half dozen blocks limiting the heavy damage. Thomas set up 15 assists with Hervoir surfacing as the main beneficiary terminating six balls. Ohio State trailed 6-1 out of the gates, needing to counter punch to pull even at 7-all. The Buckeyes found themselves behind late in the frame, too, facing a 22-20 deficit. Back-to-back BSU errors opened the door though, and Ohio State fired off five straight for the 25-22 victory.

SET 3: Serving issues started to fester in the third, suppressing Szerszen’s seven-kill effort with five serving gaffes. Knotted 18-18, Ball State went on a 5-0 run to go ahead 23-18. The Cardinals would close it out moments later, winners by a final tally of 25-22.

SET 4: Eight Buckeye serves were off the mark in the fourth, starting a negative snowball effect in the 25-17 match-tying set for Ball State.

SET 5: Action was heated in the fifth, tied as late as 12-12. Consecutive OSU errors were followed by a match-extending Szerszen kill. The clutch bouncer was voided on the next rally though when Matt Walsh’s kill put an end to it 15-13.

Ohio State is set to host eight-seeded Quincy next Saturday (April 14) in the MIVA Quarterfinals.