MUNCIE, Ind. - The Ball State men’s volleyball team earned a sweep over No. 8 Ohio State (25-15, 25-21, 25-21) Friday evening in front of a crowd of 2,562. Senior outside hitter Jamion Hartley led the attack with 15 kills while junior setter Graham McIlvaine earned his fourth double-double of the season with 28 assists and 12 digs.
With the win the Cardinals move to 14-5 on the year and 5-5 in MIVA action while the Buckeyes fall to 15-4 on the season and 7-2 in league play. Ball State is now on a six-match winning streak and has beaten two top-10 opponents. The attendance was the fourth-most in men’s volleyball history at Worthen Arena.
Hartley hit a .286 (15-5-35) while getting four digs and assisting on three blocks. Greg Herceg had six kills while Matt Leske, Shane Witmer and Kevin Owens all had four kills. The Cardinals hit .250 (36-14-88) to the Buckeyes’ .101 (36-25-109).
Along with his 28 assists and 12 digs, McIlvaine also assisted on two blocks. Libero Tommy Rouse was credited with 10 digs and passed all 29 receptions without an error. Leske had a solo block and six assisted blocks. The Cardinals had 17 assisted blocks and a solo block.
Ball State came out hot in the opening of set one jumping out to a quick 5-0 lead off an Ohio State attack error, three blocks and a service ace. An Owens-Witmer block caused Ohio State to take another timeout with Ball State leading 11-3. The Cardinals continued to dominate the rest of the set to win by 10.
The Cardinals and Buckeyes were close in the beginning of the second set but attack errors by the Buckeyes helped the Cardinals get a 12-9 lead. Ball State would take an 18-13 lead after an Ohio State attack error causing OSU to call a timeout. The Cardinals faced a match point at 24-17, but a few attack errors allowed the Buckeyes to stick around. An emphatic kill from Hartley would lock up the set at 25-21.
The third set saw Ohio State make a line-up change that helped the Buckeyes jump out to a 10-6 lead causing Ball State to call a timeout to talk things over. Three straight Ohio State attack errors caused the Buckeyes to call a timeout when the match was tied at 15. Both teams traded points back and forth but a Leske-Herceg block and a Buckeye attack error brought the score to 20-18 in favor of the Cardinals. Ball State ended the match on two-straight Hartley kills.
The Buckeyes were led by Andrew Lutz who had 11 kills.
Ball State will remain at home and will host Limestone and Pfeiffer Friday, Mar. 29, and Saturday, Mar. 30. Both matches will start at 7:30 p.m. Be sure to keep track of the team on Twitter at @BallStateMVB or on Facebook at “Ball State Men’s Volleyball”.