No. 2 Ohio State Men Edge Ball State for MIVA Finals Appearance

  0 Wendy Mayer | April 20th, 2017 | College - Men's Indoor, MIVA

Match Stats

  • No. 2 Ohio State 3, No. 11 Ball State 2 (25-14, 25-23, 23-25, 23-25, 15-13)
  • Ohio State moves to 29-2; Ball State falls to 19-10
  • Ohio State Advances to the MIVA Finals to Face No. 14 Grand Canyon
  • Columbus, Ohio.
  • Attendance: 562
  • Box Score

No. 2 Ohio State dodged a bullet Wednesday night, squeaking out a five set victory over No. 11 Ball State claim a spot in the MIVA Tournament Finals. The Buckeyes won the first two sets, dropped the next two 25-23 and trailed 7-2 in Set 5 before capping the win at 15-13.

OSU outhit the Cardinals .252 to .176 and outblocked them 14-11. Ball State won the battle in the backcourt with 58 digs to 48 for the Buckeyes.

Senior opposite Miles Johnson racked up a match-high 15 kills and added six digs and three blocks to pace the Buckeyes. Junior outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen added 14 kills, seven digs, three blocks and two aces, while junior outside Maxime Hervoir tallied 11 kills and rounded out a double-double with 11 kills and four blocks. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Blake Leeson put up a team-best seven blocks and six digs. Senior libero Gabriel Domecus also managed 11 digs.

Freshman outside Blake Reardon led the Cardinals with 14 kills and eight digs, while junior middle Matt Walsh added 12 kills, hit at a .579 clip and turned in a team-leading six blocks. Freshman outside Matt Szews chipped in nine kills to go with his 11 digs, six blocks and two aces. Senior setter Connor Gross notched a double-double with 41 assists and 13 digs. Sophomore libero Adam Wessel pulled up a team-best 16 digs.

Kills by four different players and an ace and block by Parker Swartz gave BSU the 7-2 advantage in the decisive fifth set. A pair of blocks by Christy Blough aided a 6-1 Buckeye run which knotted the score at 8. Putaways by Szews and Schwartz kept the Cardinals on top at 10-8. Down 11-10, Ohio State rallied to the 15-13 win fueled by a pair of blocks, a Szerszen kill and two Ball State service errors.

In Set 1, Ohio State led nearly wire to wire, building an early 8-4 lead and cruising on to a 25-14 win. The Buckeyes hit .560 in the stanza, while Ball State managed just a .080 effort. The Cardinals were within two at 8-6, but were outdone by the Buckeyes the rest of the way, including a pair of blocks and two Johnson kills in a 6-1 set-ending run.

Ball State led Set 2 9-5, before Ohio State scored 10 of the next 14 to turn the deficit into a 15-13 advantage. Five Cardinal errors and a kill, ace and a block by Hervoir aided the rally. The Buckeyes worked the lead to five at 22-17 with help from two Szerszen kills and a block and a kill by Hervoir. The Cardinals were within one at 23-22 and 24-23 after a block and kill by Reardon. A service error, however, clinched the set for OSU.

After the intermission, Ball State ran out to a 6-4 lead in Set 3. Ohio State countered with a 10-4 run, including five Cardinal errors and kills by four different players. Three kills and a block by Scannell fueled a 5-0 BSU run, which gave the team a 15-14 lead. A couple of Szerszen putaways put OSU back up 18-17, but Ball State responded with six of the next eight points, including a trio of Buckeye miscues, to take a 23-20 lead. A stuff by Walsh and Mitch Weiler wrapped up the win and extended the match.

Three kills and a block Hervoir pushed Ohio State out to an 11-6 lead in Set 4. Down 15-11, Ball State mounted a comeback, rattling off 12 of the next 16 points to vault ahead 23-19. Three kills and an ace by Walsh and four Buckeye errors guided the rally. A Szerszen ace pulled the Buckeyes within one at 23-22. The teams traded service errors, before a Scannelll kill forced the decisive fifth set.

Watch match highlights here.


Courtesy: Ohio State

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Top-seeded Ohio State stared at a 7-2 fifth-set deficit before capturing 13 of the next 19 points to end the night, sending home Ball State (19-10) and advancing to the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Tournament Finals (25-14, 25-23, 23-25, 23-25, 15-13). The Buckeyes (29-2) move on to their second straight MIVA Tourney championship match and will host No. 3-seed Grand Canyon (19-10) Saturday evening at 7 p.m. ET with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament up for grabs.

Ohio State picked up its 97th victory overall in 180 all-time clashes with the Cardinals dating back to 1968. The Buckeyes have faced fellow MIVA Tournament finalist Grand Canyon 17 times since the debut bout in 2010, winning 15 of 17 contests. The Antelopes pushed OSU to the brink earlier this season in Phoenix, however, as the second of two matches spilled into a fifth frame. Ohio State is in pursuit of what would be the 16th MIVA Tourney title in school history.

Set 1: The Wednesday night roller coaster ride launched with a lopsided 25-14 opening frame in favor of the Buckeyes. Ohio State blasted through the Cardinal defense, attacking .560 on 15 team kills. Five different Buckeyes recorded multiple kills in the set, including four apiece from Miles Johnson and Nicolas Szerszen. Blake Leeson shouldered the defensive load, getting in on three blocks to help limit BSU in a .080 attacking effort.

Set 2: It was Ball State up early in the second stanza, owners of a 12-9 edge. From there, the Buckeyes rattled off six of the next seven to go ahead for good at 15-13. Johnson and Szerszen combined for nine kills while Maxime Hervoir made a big impact with his half dozen digs. The two-point OSU margin maintained through set’s end, wrapping up as a 25-23 winner for the Scarlet & Gray.

Set 3: Trailing 2-0 in Columbus is did little to intimidate the Cardinals, climbing out of the same hole a year ago (Feb. 6) and handing Ohio State a five-set defeat. Ball State was up for the challenge once again, beginning by taking the third set, 25-23. The Cardinals dug a whopping 15 balls, frustrating Ohio State’s attack in a .171 hitting performance. Super sub Mike Scannell was also a huge factor, delivering five kills on seven errorless swings after not playing in the first two sets. Matt Walsh lifted BSU, too, stuffing the Buckeyes three times, including the closing point for 25-23.

Set 4: Ohio State built considerable leads of 3-0, 7-3 and 15-11 in set number four. But the gritty Cardinals counterpunched again, quickly knotting the score at 16-all. Another large digs total, 17 to be exact, propelled Ball State to its second straight 25-23 upper hand.

Set 5: The Buckeyes would not be denied in the fifth. Despite the truncated nature of a final set, Ohio State managed to climb out of a 7-2 hole to secure its spot in Saturday’s MIVA Finals. A blocking barrage fueled the comeback. Christy Blough and Leeson teamed up for a timeout-inducing rejection at 8-6. Blough then took matters into his own hands with a solo stuff tying the ledger at 8-8. The blocks kept coming as Leeson roofed Parker Swartz to break up an 11-11 stalemate. Fittingly, the dramatic affair came to end via another Buckeye block when Blough paired with Driss Guessous to send back a BSU attempt for the 15-13 final tally.

The NCAA Men’s Volleyball Selection Show will be streamed on at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday (Apr. 23). Six teams will have a shot at hoisting the national championship trophy in Columbus, Ohio, on May 6.

Courtesy: Ball State

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ball State men’s volleyball team went into Columbus looking to upset No. 2 Ohio State in the MIVA Semifinals. St. John Arena was rocking as the Cardinals and the defending national champions went down to the wire in five sets. Ball State left it all on the court, but fell in a heartbreaker, 3-2.

Freshman Blake Reardon led the team in kills with 14 and added eight digs and one block. Junior All-MIVA First Team selection Matt Walsh tallied 12 kills for an impressive .579 hitting percentage. He also added six total blocks and one service ace. MIVA Co-Freshman of the Year, Matt Szews, knocked down nine kills along with 11 digs and six block assists. All-MIVA Second Team honoree, Connor Gross, had 41 assists, 13 digs and two kills on the night. Defensively, sophomore Adam Wessel led the team with 16 digs.

The Buckeyes came out strong and took set one with a final score of 25-14.

The Cardinals were held to only nine kills for a .080 hitting percentage. Reardon led the first set in kills with five while Swartz, Cartagena, Walsh and Szews each tallied one. Ball State came out and scored the first two points of set two, but fell to Ohio State with a final score of 25-23.

Reardon led the Cardinals in kills once again with four. Szews tallied two kills while Cartagena and Walsh each knocked down one. Gross led the set with six digs. In a see-saw set three that saw 12 tied scores and seven lead changes, the Cardinals avoided the sweep with a set three victory. On a block assist from Walsh and Weiler, Ball State took the set 25-23.

Mike Scannell led the team with five kills, three of which were on consecutive points. Szews added four kills and a team high four digs in set three. Ball State was on fire in set four and took the set 25-23. Walsh led the way with six kills while Reardon added three. Scannell had one kill in set four, which was the set winning point.

Set five was a nail biter. Ball State came out with a bang and took a quick 3-0 lead. On back-to-back kills from Szews and Reardon, the Cardinals took a 7-2 lead and forced an Ohio State timeout.  The Buckeyes quickly clawed their way back tying the final set 8-8. After a Ball State timeout, the battle continued. After a 13-13 tie, a service error and an Ohio State block assist sealed Ball State’s fate. The Buckeyes took the final set, 15-13, ending the Cardinals’ season.

The Ball State men’s volleyball team ends the season with a 19-10 record and 9-7 in the MIVA regular season.   For the most up-to-date news on the Ball State men’s volleyball team, please follow @BallStateSports and @BallStateMVB.

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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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