COLUMBUS, Ohio - - The Ball State men's volleyball team saw its 2012 season come to an end with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-15) loss to defending national champion Ohio State Wednesday night in the semifinal round of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament in Columbus, Ohio.
With the loss, the Cardinals end the season with a 14-12 overall record. The 10th-ranked Buckeyes improve to 21-8 and will host No. 7 Lewis in the MIVA Tournament Championship match Saturday at 7 p.m. at St. John Arena.
Junior opposite attacker Greg Herceg (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Ignatius) led the Ball State attack with eight kills, while adding three digs, an ace and a block assist.
Redshirt sophomore middle attacker Matt Leske (Highwood, Ill/Highland Park) added five kills and a team-high three block assists, while posting the other BSU ace in the match.
Rounding out BSU's top attackers were sophomore middle blocker Kevin Owens (Fishers, Ind./Cathedral) and junior outside attacker Larry Wrather (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forrest) with six and five kills, respectively.
Ohio State's Shawn Sangrey paced all attackers with 15 kills, while posting a .419 (15-2-31) hitting mark. Two other Buckeyes added six kills, including Mik Berzins who led all players with 11 digs.
OSU held the Cardinals to a .022 (28-26-93) hitting mark for the match, while connecting for a .392 (37-6-79) rate of success on offense. The key to OSU's defense was its 19 total team blocks, including 10 (one solo and nine assists) from Grayson Overman.
The BSU defense, which entered the match as the league's top blocking team, only managed four team blocks in the loss. OSU also held a 34-31 edge in digs and a 5-2 advantage in aces.
With Ohio State leading 4-1 in the opening set, a kill from BSU's Leske gave the guests a brief moment of life as the tied the score at 4-4. Unfortunately, OSU answered with the next five points and never looked back, winning the game 25-14 on a Peter Heinen service ace.
Ohio State surged out to another 4-1 lead in the second set, only to have the Cardinals battle back within one at 8-7 thanks to back-to-back block assists both involving Leske. After falling behind 13-10, the Cardinals turned to Leske again as he provided a kill and an ace to draw back within one at 13-12. However, OSU would take control from there, out-scoring Ball State 12-6 down the stretch to win the set 25-18.
For the third consecutive set, the Cardinals found themselves in a 4-1 hole to open the third. The Buckeyes would add four of the next six points and go on to win the frame 25-15 and the match 3-0.