COLUMBUS, Ohio – The top-seeded OhioState (20-7 overall) men’s volleyball team used a strong defense to defeat second-seeded BallState (21-10), 3-0 (30-19, 30-24, 30-21) to win the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament championship Saturday night in St. John Arena. It marked OhioState’s 11th tournament championship and the fourth since 2000 (2000, 01, 05, 08). The victory moves the Buckeyes into the NCAA National Semifinals, May 1 at UC Irvine. Pairings and times will be announced later.


Ohio State’s Brett Versen (5th-Sr., Centerville, Ohio) posted a match-high 21 points in the contest with Robbie Klein (Sr.-Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio) adding 12. Versen recorded a match-high 15 kills (.440), two ace serves and a match-high seven (1-6) blocks. Klein posted 10 kills, one ace serve and two assist blocks. BallState’s Todd Chamberlain scored a team-high 10 points for the Cardinals with nine kills and one ace serve.


In game one, OhioState secured the lead for good with a Ben Spurlock (Sr.-So., Stow, Ohio) kill at 5-4. Two Cardinal errors made it 7-4. At 9-6, OSU, a J.D. Gasparovic kill cut the margin to two at 9-7. A Daniel Mathews (Sr., Shorewood, Wis.)-Ted Schoenfeldt (So., Northbrook, Ill.) block followed by a Cardinal kill by Patrick Durbin made it 10-8. Kills from Schoenfeldt and Versen and a BallState error made it 13-8 forcing a BallState time out. A Cardinal error and a solo block by Versen followed to open a seven point Ohio State lead at 15-8. OhioState, at 28-19, reached game point with a Jason Tobkin (So.-Fr., Fairfield, Ohio) kill at 29-19. The Buckeyes closed out the game with a Mathews-John Albertson (Sr.-Jr., Ballwin, Mo.) for a 30-19 win. OhioState hit .714 for the game to .107 for BallState.


BallState opened game two with a Durbin kill and an OSU error for a 2-0 Cardinal lead. With the Buckeyes trailing, 7-5, back-to-back kills by Klein tied the game at seven. A Cardinal error and a Tobkin kill gave OhioState a 9-7 lead. At 10-8, a Gasparovic kill cut the OhioState lead to one at 10-9. A kill from Mathews and a BallState error gave the Buckeyes a 12-9 lead. Durbin, with a kill made it 12-10. Buckeye kills from Schoenfeldt and Versen and two blocks by Versen and Schoenfeldt gave OSU a 16-10 lead. With BallState trailing, 18-13, a Matt McCarthy kill, an Ethan Pheister block and an OSU error cut the lead to two at 18-16. At 19-17, a Spurlock kill made the lead three at 20-17. A Buckeye error and a Chamberlain ace serve made it 20-19. A kill by Klein and a Cardinal error made it 22-19. An OSU error and a Versen kill made the lead three at 23-20. A Cardinal error and a Versen kill made the lead five at 25-20. At 28-23, Spurlock, with a kill, set game point at 29-23. A Chamberlain kill stopped the game point at 29-24. A Cardinal error ended the game at 30-24 to give OhioState a 2-0 lead in the match. The Buckeyes hit .342 for the game to .053 for BallState.


With game three tied at two, a Gasparovic kill, a Buckeye error and a Durbin kill opened a 5-2 BallState lead. OSU responded with a Schoenfeldt kill and a Versen-Schoenfeldt block to make it 5-4 Cardinals. A Chamberlain kill and a Cardinal error made it 6-5. A Matt Sprague kill gave Ball State a 7-5 lead. Buckeye kills from Spurlock and Versen tied the game at seven. Tied at 13, two Cardinal errors and a Spurlock-Tobkin block gave OhioState a 16-13 lead as BallState called time out. OhioState continued the run with a Tobkin kill, a Cardinal error, a Mathews-Spurlock block and a Spurlock-Tobkin block to reach 20-13 forcing the Cardinals to call time out. OhioState took the lead to eight at 21-13 with a Versen ace serve. At 27-19, a solo block by Mark Termion and an OSU error cut the Buckeye lead to six at 27-21. A Versen kill and a Versen-Spurlock-Tobkin block set match point at 29-21. BallState, with an attack error, ended the game at 30-21, for a 3-0 OhioState victory. The Buckeyes hit .138 for the game to .000 for the Cardinals.


OhioState hit .364 for the match to .053 for BallState. The Buckeyes had a 48-33 advantage in kills and a five-to-two margin in ace serves. OhioState gave up 11 service errors to eight for the Cardinals. Defensively, The Buckeyes had a 30-21 edge in digs with OSU’s Mathews recording a match-high nine. At the net, OhioState enjoyed a 15 to 5.5 advantage in team blocks. Versen collected a match-high seven (1-6) blocks in the match with Spurlock adding six assist blocks. At setter, Mathews had a match-high 41 assists for the Buckeyes while Pheister had 22 and Jeff Schmitz, 11 for BallState.


Named to the MIVA All-Tournament team from BallState were Durbin and Ian Peckler. Loyola-Chicago’s Ian Anderson and Buckeyes’ Versen and Klein were named to the team. OhioState’s Mathews was named the Most Valuable Player for the tournament. It marked the second time in his four-year career he has received the honor. He was named MVP in the 2005 tournament.