MUNCIE, Ind. – The No. 12 Ohio State University men’s volleyball team (3-4) stumbled in its conference opener, a four-set road loss to fellow MIVA charter member Ball State. The 13th-ranked Cardinals (4-4) dismissed a first set dominated by Ohio State (25-14) and grabbed the next three frames (25-20, 25-22, 25-22).
SET 1: The contest began magnificently with Ball State burning a timeout prior to recording a point. Ohio State raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first and never looked back in a 25-14 shellacking in which the Buckeyes attacked .450 and registered three of their four aces for the match. Jake Hanes and Martin Lallemand each ripped four kills while Kyle Skinner connected for three. Hanes, entering as the NCAA’s top point producer in 2019, was responsible for a half dozen tallies in the opening frame after catching the Cardinals for two aces as well.
SET 2: Ohio State remained in control at the 14-10 mark of Set 2, but lost its grip when the Cardinals snagged 11 of the next 13 rallies to go ahead 21-16. Parker Swartz aced the Buckeyes thrice during that stretch, a surge of serving success which ignited Ball State from the baseline for the rest of the evening. The five-point gap would remain at set’s end, a 25-20 equalizer for the Cardinals.
SET 3: Set three was largely determined by serving effectiveness as well. Ohio State committed six errors with no aces while the Cardinals matched their three errors with three aces. Fittingly, the sixth OSU serving mishap resulted in the final nail of a 25-22 defeat.
SET 4: The Buckeyes mounted a massive comeback in the fourth, digging out of a 15-7 hole to pull even at 20-20. Ohio State’s run ended there though, giving way to a 5-2 spurt for Ball State’s match closing.
Ohio State steps back out into non-conference play next week, hosting Saint Francis and Lincoln Memorial (Feb. 1-2) at St. John Arena.