Columbus, Ohio – The fourth-ranked Ohio State (15-2 overall, 8-0 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) men’s volleyball team defeated Ball State (10-7, 3-4), 3-1 (25-21, 25-18, 15-25, 25-22) Friday night in St. John Arena. OSU’s Mike Berzins recorded a team-high 14 points with a team-high 12 kills (.300) and four assist blocks. Grayson Overman added 11.5 points for the Buckeyes with eight kills (.316), one solo block and five assist blocks. Ball State’s Lee Meyer produced a match-high 14.5 points with 13 kills (.379), one ace serve and one assist block. Jamion Hartley added 13 points for the Cardinals with nine kills (.158), one ace serve and six assist blocks.

With set one tied at five, OSU kills from Kevin Heine and Berzins gave the Buckeyes a 7-5 lead. Leading, 12-10, a Cardinal error made it 13-10, OSU. Two Buckeye errors and a kill from Meyer tied the set at 13. At 14-all, a Jason Tobkin kill, an Overman-Berzins block and a Steven Kehoe solo block gave Ohio State a 17-14 lead. Kills from Dominic Spadavecchio and Greg Herceg cut the margin to one at 17-16. At, 19-18, Ohio State expanded the lead to four with kills from John Klanac and Berzins and a Tobkin-Heine block. Kills from Meyer and Heine made it 23-19. A Cardinal error gave OSU set point at 24-19. Ball State stopped two set points with a Meyer kill and an OSU error to cut the lead to 24-21. The Buckeyes won the set, 25-21, with a kill from Berzins to take a 1-0 lead in the match. Ohio State hit .294 for the set to .179 for Ball State.

Ball State held an 8-6 lead when a Klanac kill, a Cardinal error and a Tobkin solo block gave Ohio State a 9-8 lead. The Cardinals responded with an Anders Nelson kill, an OSU error and solo blocks from Herceg and Wrather to take a 13-9 lead. At 15-11, a Cardinal error and a Klanac kill made the lead 15-13.  After a Meyer kill (16-13), two BSU errors and a Berzins kill tied the set at 16. At 17-all, a Meyer kill gave Ball State an 18-17 lead. Overman, with a kill, tied the set at 18. Two kills from Berzins and a Cardinal error made it 21-18. An ace serve from Kehoe, a Cardinal error and an Overman kill gave Ohio State set point at 24-18. The Buckeyes, with an Overman-Berzins block, won the set, 25-18, to give Ohio State a 2-0 lead in the match. The Buckeyes hit .308 for the set to .120 for the Cardinals.

Kills from Hartley and Wrather opened set three to give Ball State a 2-0 lead. At 4-2, a Nelson kill, a Nelson-Dan Wichmann block and a Hartley ace serve opened a 7-2 Cardinal lead. Ball State continued to build the lead and reached set point at 24-15 with a kill by Wrather. An OSU error ended the set to give Ball State a 25-15 set win and cut the Buckeye lead to 2-1 in the match. Ball State hit .269 for the set to .000 for Ohio State.

With the fourth set tied at four, a Kehoe-Heine block and a Heine solo block gave Ohio State a 6-4 lead. At 9-7, a Meyer kill cut the OSU lead to one at 9-8. Two Tobkin kills and a Heine-Klanac block gave OSU a 12-8 lead. Kills from Meyer and Klanac moved the score to 13-9. A 6-0 Cardinal run gave Ball State a 15-13 lead. OSU tied the set at 15 with a kill from Kehoe and a Heine-Kehoe block. At 17-all, three Cardinal errors gave Ohio State a 20-17 lead. Cardinal kills from Nelson and Wrather cut the lead to one at 20-19. The score moved to 21-20 with kills from Overman and Nelson. Kills from Overman and Meyer made it 22-21, OSU. A Cardinal error and a Meyer kill made it 23-22. Ohio State reached match-point at 24-22 with a Klanac kill. A Cardinal error ended the set at 25-22 for the Buckeyes to give Ohio State a 3-1 victory in the match.

For the match, Ohio State hit .203 to .163 for Ball State. The Cardinals had a 53-47 advantage in kills and a 51-41 margin in assists. Ball State’s Wichmann recorded a match-high 48 assists with OSU’s Kehoe collecting 36. The Cardinals had a 4-1 advantage in aces and gave up 10 service errors to seven for Ohio State. Defensively, Ball State had a 42-36 margin in digs. Tommy Rouse collected a match-high 12 digs in the match while Buckeye Anthony Hock had a team-high nine. The Cardinals produced a match-high 14.5 team blocks to 13 for Ohio State. Cardinals Nelson and Hartley, with six assist blocks each, shared match-high honors with OSU’s Overman with a solo and five assists.

Ohio State will travel to Arizona for conference matches with Grand Canyon, March 20 (4 p.m.) and 21 (6 p.m.). The Buckeyes continue the road trip with matches at UC San Diego, March 24 (7 p.m.) and UC Irvine, March 26 (6 p.m.).

Pete Hanson, Ohio State head coach

On tonight’s match
“It was like what Loyola did. Ball State changed their tactics a little bit and they scored a lot with the short serve and that caused us a lot of problems in serve receiving and our offense really went south for a while. In game four we came out and I told the guy to stay aggressive as attackers and stay aggressive as servers. We got some guys to go back and hit a couple good serves and we got a little bit of a lead and we were playing in front rather than playing in behind. There was one stretch where their server caught us in the rotation but we caught up. They made it close at the end, but our guys steadied out and didn’t panic. We kept hitting the ball in and they made some spike errors coming down the stretch and that’s the end of it. “

On Shawn Sangrey
“Sangrey is injured right now and he’s under the weather. It’s something that he’s going to be out a little bit for us, but he’ll be back. So we had to obviously change our lineup and do some different things. Jason (Tobkin) hasn’t had a lot of chance to practice over there, but he’ll get better. It was a good for us to be able to put a different lineup out there and come out with a win.”

On playing on the road
“Hopefully we’ll have some fun, see some sun and some warmer weather. We have to get through finals here and hopefully the guys will do a good job there. We’ll go out and play Grand Canyon which is one of the younger teams in our conference, so we should be good there. Then we have two tough matches in California. It’s a chance for this group to continue to gel a little bit until Shawn gets back and that will be good for us.”