COLUMBUS, Ohio – The ninth-ranked Ohio State (17-7 overall, 10-1 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) men’s volleyball team, behind a match-high 26.5 points from Robbie Klein (Sr.-Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio), earned at least a share of the MIVA championship with a 3-1 (28-30, 30-27, 30-23, 30-23) victory over eighth-ranked Ball State (18-9, 9-2) Thursday night in St. John Arena. Both teams close out the regular season with conference matches Saturday, Ohio State hosting Mercyhurst (5-18, 1-10) and Ball State playing at 15th-ranked Lewis (20-8, 7-4). Klein’s match-high 26.5 points included a match-high 23 kills, three ace serves and an assist block. BallState’s Todd Chamberlain had a team-high 20 points for the Cardinals with 19 kills and two assist blocks.
Ball State broke the third tie (7-7) of game one with a Chamberlain kill and one from Patrick Durbin to take a 9-7 lead in the game. The Cardinals never trailed building five point leads twice. At 25-20, two kills from Ben Spurlock (Sr.-So., Stow, Ohio) and a BallState error cut the Cardinal lead to two at 25-23. At 28-26, a Marcus Imwalle kill set game point for BallState at 29-26. A Cardinal error and a Klein kill stopped two game points to cut the lead to one at 29-28. BallState won the game, 30-28 with a J. D. Gasparovic kill to take a 1-0 lead in the match. The Cardinals hit .340 for the game to .255 for the Buckeyes.
Tied at nine in game two, a Jason Tobkin (So.-Fr., Fairfield, Ohio) ace serve and a Spurlock kill gave Ohio State an 11-9 lead. Ahead by two at 13-11, a Gasparovic solo block cut the OSU lead to one. Ohio State responded with a Ted Schoenfeldt (So., Northbrook, Ill.) kill and back-to-back ace serves from Tobkin to take a 16-12 lead. At 24-20, a Brett Versen (5th-Sr., Centerville, Ohio) kill and a Spurlock solo block opened a six point lead for the Buckeyes. Two OSU errors and a Durbin kill cut the lead to 26-23. A Cardinal error made it 27-23. Two Chamberlain kill made it 27-25. Kills from Klein and Durbin moved the score to 28-26. A kill by Klein set game point at 29-26. BallState, with a Gasparovic-Durbin block, stopped the game point at 29-27. Klein connected for a kill to end the game at 30-27 for OhioState and tie the match at one game each. BallState hit .414 for the game, while OhioState hit .345.
Ball State broke an 8-8 tie in game three with an Ethan Pheister block and an Imwalle kill to take a 10-8 lead. At 12-11, kills from Chamberlain and Durbin gave the Cardinals a 14-11 lead. OSU cut the lead to one with a Schoenfeldt-Klein block and a Versen kill to make the score, 14-13. Errors by both teams moved the score to 15-14. A Schoenfeldt ace serve tied the game at 15. A Cardinal error and a second ace by Schoenfeldt and a kill by Klein gave OhioState an 18-15 lead. Leading 24-21, a Tobkin kill and a Versen-Tobkin-Schoenfeldt block gave the Buckeyes a 26-21 lead. BallState responded with a block from Imwalle and Gasparovic to make it 26-22. OhioState reached game point with a Klein kill, a Schoenfeldt ace serve and a Versen kill to lead, 29-22. Chamberlain stopped the game point with a kill at 29-23. A Versen kill gave OhioState a 30-23 win in the game and a 2-1 lead in the match. OhioState hit .286 for the game to .111 for the Cardinals.
A Versen kill and a Tobkin ace serve opened game four for the Buckeyes with a 2-0 lead. After a Matt McCarthy kill made it 2-1, OSU kills from Spurlock and Klein, a Spurlock ace serve and a Cardinal error opened a 6-1 Buckeye lead. With BallState trailing, 14-10, two OSU errors cut the margin to 14-12. A Schoenfeldt solo block made it 15-12, OSU. A Durbin kill, a Mark Termion-Gasparovic block and an OSU error tied the game at 15. BallState took a 16-15 lead with a Gasparovic-Imwalle block. A Cardinal error tied the game at 16. BallState took a 17-16 lead with an Imwalle kill. An ace serve by Gasparovic made it 18-16, BallState. Tobkin, with two kills, tied the game at 18. The Buckeyes took a 19-18 lead with a Spurlock kill. A Tobkin kill, a block from Tobkin and Spurlock and a Klein kill opened a 22-18 Buckeye lead. An OSU error made it 22-19. Kills from Versen and Klein gave OhioState a 24-19 lead. A McCarthy-Pheister block and a Spurlock kill moved the score to 25-20. A Buckeye error and a Schoenfeldt kill made it 26-21. A Gasparovic kill cut the lead to four at 26-22. A Cardinal error and a Versen kill made it 28-22. Gasparovic, with a kill, cut the lead to five at 28-23. The Buckeyes reached match point with a Versen kill at 29-23. A Cardinal error ended the game at 30-23, OhioState, giving the Buckeyes a 3-1 win in the match. OhioState hit .167 for the game to .083 for BallState.
OhioState hit .252 for the match to .236 for BallState. The Buckeyes had a 66-60 advantage in kills and a nine to four margin in ace serves. OSU’s Schoenfeldt and Klein shared match-high honors with three aces each. The Cardinals gave up 18 service errors to 12 for the Buckeyes. Defensively, BallState had a 56-53 edge in digs with Ian Peckler recording a match-high 19. OSU’s Versen posted a career-high 12 digs in the match. At the net, the Cardinals had an 11 to nine advantage in team blocks. BallState’s Gasparovic recorded a match-high seven blocks with one solo and six assist. At setter, Pheister posted a match-high 57 assists for Ball State with OSU’s Daniel Mathews (Sr., Shorewood, Wis.) collecting 55.
OhioState closes out the regular season Saturday by hosting Mercyhurst at 7 p.m. in St. John Arena.