MVB Battles Ohio State Wednesday In MIVA Tournament
►THEN THERE WERE FOUR: After securing a 3-1 win at No. 4 seed Grand Canyon last Saturday, the No. 5 seed Ball State men's volleyball team advances to face No. 1 seed Ohio State in the semifinal round of the 2012 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio.
►FOLLOW THE ACTION: Live stats and live video will be available for Wednesday's MIVA Tournament semifinal match at the links above.
►TOURNAMENT TO DATE: No. 5 seed Ball State advanced to the semifinal round with a 3-1 (26-24, 15-25, 25-19, 26-24) road victory last Saturday at No. 4 Grand Canyon . . . In action last Friday, the top two seeds held with No. 2 Lewis downing No. 7 Quincy 3-0 (25-16, 25-10, 25-16) and No. 3 Loyola pulling out a 3-1 (21-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-19) victory over No. 6 IPFW . . . No. 1 seed Ohio State was idle with the tournament bye.
►IN THE TOURNAMENT: Ball State enters Wednesday's MIVA Tournament semifinal match with a 58-27 (.682) all-time mark in league tournament play . . . BSU is 16-2 in quarterfinal matches, 16-11 in semifinal action and 14-11 in championship matches . . . From 1964-1969, BSU was 12-3 in round robin play . . . Last season, the Cardinals suffered a 3-1 (17-25, 25-21, 25-20, 26-24) setback to Quincy in the quarterfinal round.
►CARDINALS ALL-TIME: The Ball State men's volleyball program enters Wednesday's match at Ohio State with a 1067-432-8 (.711) all-time record in 48-plus seasons of play . . . The program, which officially became a varsity sport at Ball State during the 1964 season, joins baseball and men's basketball as the only programs in school history to reach 1,000 wins . . . In addition, only one other NCAA Division I/II men's volleyball program has eclipsed 1,000 wins, with UCLA entering the week with an 1,239-290 all-time record over 49-plus years.
►250 AND COUNTING: Joel Walton, who is in his 14th season as BSU's head coach, picked up his 250th career victory in a 3-2 thriller at George Mason (Jan. 14) . . . Walton coached his 400th career match versus Park (Feb. 25), picking up a 3-0 victory . . . He enters Wednesday's match at Ohio State with a 263-147 (.641) career record . . . Walton is 9-26 all-time in matches versus Ohio State, including a 0-8 mark in MIVA Tournament action.
►ALL-TIME VERSUS OHIO STATE: Ball State snapped an 11-match losing streak to the Buckeyes by scoring a thrilling 3-2 (21-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 15-12) home court victory March 18 to split the 2012 regular season series . . . Overall, the Cardinals hold a 99-89-1 edge in the all-time series . . . However, BSU is 31-45 all-time in Columbus, having last picked up a road win in the series April 7, 2006 by a score of 3-0 (30-21, 31-29, 30-22).
►IN THE TOURNAMENT: The Cardinals and Buckeyes have met 33 times in MIVA Tournament play, with OSU holding an 18-15 edge in those matches . . . Ohio State has ended the Cardinals' season four of the past five years, scoring tournament championship wins in 2008 and 2009, as well as a semifinal victories in 2007 and 2010 . . . Overall, the Cardinals have lost their last eight MIVA Tournament matches versus Ohio State, with BSU's last victory coming in the form of a 3-0 (15-6, 16-14, 15-6) semifinal win in 1997.
►SCOUTING THE CARDINALS: The Cardinals enter the MIVA Tournament semifinals with a 14-11 (5-7 MIVA) record thanks to a 3-1 quarterfinal win at Grand Canyon last Saturday . . . Junior outside attacker Larry Wrather paces the BSU attack with a 2.54 kills-per-set average, while redshirt junior opposite attacker Jamion Hartley is second at 2.53 kps . . . Junior Dan Wichmann and sophomore Graham McIlvaine have split time at setter, guiding the Cardinals to a .210 team hitting mark . . . Redshirt sophomore middle attacker Matt Leske has a league-high 1.33 blocks-per-set average, while sophomore middle attacker Kevin Owens hits a team-best .401 . . . Sophomore libero Tommy Rouse averages 2.45 digs per set to pace the BSU backcourt.
►TAKING CHARGE AT THE NET: Ball State continues to be one of the most dominating defenses in the nation at the net, ranking first in the MIVA and eighth in the country with a 2.77 blocks-per-set average . . . Matt Leske leads the Ball State block and ranks eighth nationally at 1.33 bps, while Kevin Owens is 21st in the country at 1.08.
►AND IN THE BACKCOURT: Ball State also enters the week ranked fourth nationally with a 9.68 digs-per-set average . . . Tommy Rouse is ninth among all NCAA Division I/II players at 2.45 dps, while Larry Wrather is 39th at 1.82 . . . Wednesday's opponent Ohio State ranks second nationally at 9.83.
►FIVE FOR EIGHT: The Ball State men's volleyball team used a balanced offensive attack in its MIVA Tournament quarterfinal win at Grand Canyon, with five different players recorded eight kills; Jamion Hartley, Jeff Aucoin, Larry Wrather, Kevin Owens and Greg Herceg . . . In addition, all five attackers earned a similar number of sets, with Wrather taking a team-high 28 swings while Owens was last in the group with 18 attempts.