MUNCIE, Ind. – The No. 12 Ball State men’s volleyball team hosts MIVA foe No. 15 Ohio State Sun., Mar. 23 at 4 p.m. in Worthen Arena. The Cardinals are riding a nine-match winning streak capped by head coach Joel Walton’s 300th-career win on Thurs., Mar. 20 with a 3-1 win over NJIT. In the match, junior libero David Ryan Vander Meer picked up a career-high 23 digs which set a rally scoring-era school record for most digs in a four-set match.
Scouting Ball State
The Cardinals (16-5, 5-2 MIVA) are on a nine-match winning streak after picking up a 3-1 win over NJIT on Thurs., Mar. 20. Ball State ranks first in the MIVA in blocks per set (2.92) and digs per set (9.85) while senior middle attacker Matt Leske leads the conference with 1.47 blocks per set.
Ball State is hitting a .263 hitting percentage for the season while it is holding opponents to a .179 clip. Sophomore outside attacker Marcin Niemczewski has 245 kills on the season for a 3.50 kills per set average while senior middle attackers Kevin Owens and Matt Leske, red-shirt senior outside attacker Larry Wrather and junior outside attacker Shane Witmer have tallied over 100 kills on the season.
Senior setter Graham McIlvaine has dished out 666 assists and has registered 26 aces and 109 digs. Junior libero David Ryan Vander Meer leads the digging for the Cardinals with 197 on the season while Witmer and Niemczewski also have eclipsed 100 digs.
Scouting Ohio State
The Buckeyes (8-12, 4-5 MIVA) are on a four-match skid having lost matches to Lewis (3-0), Long Beach State (3-2), Cal State Northridge (3-2) and Harvard (3-2). The last MIVA win for Ohio State came against Grand Canyon on Fri., Mar. 21 and Sat., Mar. 22.
Red-shirt freshman middle attacker Driss Guessous leads the MIVA and is second in the nation with his .467 hitting percentage. Red-shirt junior opposite hitter Andrew Lutz leads the Buckeye offense has 246 kills on the season for a 3.57 kills per set average. Freshman setter Christy Blough has dished out 581 assists for a 10.96 assists per set.
Series with Ohio State
Sunday’s match will mark the 194th meeting between Ball State and Ohio State. The Cardinals hold the overall advantage in the series that dates back to the 1964 season with a 101-91-1. Ball State picked up a 3-1 win in Columbus, Ohio earlier this season, the first time the Cardinals had won in Columbus since the 2006 season. The last time Ball State completed the season sweep of Ohio State was during the 2002 campaign when the Cardinals won 3-2 at Ohio State and 3-0 in Worthen Arena.
The Last Time Out
Ball State picked up a 3-1 win over then-No. 13 Ohio State in the last meeting between the two teams in Columbus on Wed., Feb. 26. Sophomore outside attacker Marcin Niemczewski picked up 18 digs while junior outside attacker Shane Witmer tallied a career-high 17 kills. Witmer hit a blistering .406 clip and passed 18 balls without a reception error. Senior middle attacker Matt Leske had 10 blocks while junior libero David Ryan Vander Meer and junior outside attacker Matt Sutherland each got under 10 digs each.
Head coach Joel Walton made history and won his 300th-career win on Thurs., Mar. 20 with Ball State’s 3-1 win over NJIT.
The Doctor Is In
Junior libero David Ryan Vander Meer got under a career-high 23 digs against NJIT to set a rally-scoring era school record for most digs in a four-set match.