MUNCIE, Ind. - The No. 14 Ball State men’s volleyball team travels to Columbus, Ohio to take on conference foe No. 13 Ohio State on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. The Cardinals are coming off a tough weekend, dropping matches to No. 1 Loyola and then-No. 10 Lewis.
Scouting Ball State
The Cardinals (7-5, 3-2 MIVA) snapped its six-match winning streak at the hands over the league-leading Loyola Ramblers on Thursday, Feb. 20 followed by a 3-0 loss to then-No. 10 Lewis on Saturday, Feb. 22.
Sophomore Marcin Niemczewski continues to lead the offense with a 3.63 kills per set average which ranks second in the MIVA and 16th in the country. Senior Kevin Owens boasts the 13th-best hitting percentage in the nation at .350 which puts him fifth in the league. Owens’ 0.93 blocks per set average is sixth in the MIVA while fellow senior Matt Leske’s 1.27 blocks per set average is second in the league and eight in the country.
Scouting Ohio State
The Buckeyes (7-6, 4-2 MIVA) picked up two conference wins last weekend sweeping Grand Canyon on consecutive nights.
Ohio State boasts the 11th-best hitting percentage in the nation at .294 led by Driss Guessous who leads the MIVA and is third in the country with a .464 clip. Guessous also is fifth in the conference in blocks per set with a 0.95 average. Ohio State’s Andrew Lutz is right behind Niemczewski in kills. Lutz is 17th in the country and third in the MIVA with his 3.63 kills per set average.
Series with Ohio State
The series with Ohio State is one of the oldest in the books for Ball State. The two squads began competing before they were officially recognized as varsity teams with the first meeting coming on March 7, 1964. Ball State holds the advantage in the all-time series at 100-91-1. The teams split their series last season. The Cardinals are 48-31 all-time in Columbus.
Head coach Joel Walton is nine wins away from registering his 300th career win at Ball State. Walton has tallied a 291-159 mark in his 15 seasons at the helm of the Cardinals.
Big Crowd for No. 1 Loyola
The match against No. 1 Loyola on Feb. 20 was the third-highest attended match in school history with 2,693 in attendance. The largest crowd at Worthen Arena to watch a Ball State men’s volleyball match was on Jan. 17, 2009 when 3,729 came out to watch then-No. 4 Stanford.
Senior setter Graham McIlvaine moved to sixth in program history after his 35 assists performance against Lindenwood on Feb. 15. Heading into Thursday’s match McIlvaine has 2,379 career assists. The senior passed Jeff Robertson (1997-2000) who finished his career with 2,313 assists.
The Cardinals are on Twitter at @BallStateMVB. Be sure to use the hashtag #BSUMVB all season long to join the conversation. The team also has a Facebook account, be sure to like “Ball State Men’s Volleyball” for updates and pictures.