COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ball State men’s volleyball team dropped a
heartbreaker to the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes (28-26, 25-22, 25-19, 25-23)
Sunday afternoon at St. John Arena. Senior outside hitter Greg Herceg and
sophomore outside hitter Shane Witmer each tallied double-digit kills while junior
setter Graham McIlvaine registered a double-double.
Herceg led the match
with 18 kills while Witmer added 10 kills. McIlvaine tallied his second
double-double of the season and seventh of his career off 45 assists and a
career-high 13 digs. Junior libero Tommy Rouse got under 17 digs while middle
blockers Kevin Owens and Matt Leske each recorded a solo block and five
The Cardinals trailed
in the first set but used defense to get back in. Two triple blocks and a solo
block by Owens brought the Cardinals to within two, 20-18. A heads up play from
McIlvaine to dig the ball gave way to a Witmer kill to bring BSU to within one.
The score would get knotted up several times down the stretch, but the Buckeyes
came out on top 28-26.
Ball State led by as
many as seven twice in the second set, 18-11 and 20-13. Ohio State mounted an
8-2 run to tie the set at 22-all. Herceg managed a dig that set up a Witmer
kill to give the Cardinals a one-point advantage. A Herceg kill and a Buckeye
attack error would give the Cardinals the 25-22 set win.
Ohio State hit a .297
clip (17-6-37) to Ball State’s .222 (12-4-36) in the third set. The Cardinals
were not able to outlast an offensive explosion from the Buckeyes’ Chen Levitan
and Andrew Lutz and fell 25-19.
The Cardinals led by as
many as six early on in the fourth set, but the Buckeyes managed a comeback and
took the lead 21-20. Back-to-back kills by Herceg knotted up the match at 23. The
match ended on a Cardinal attack error.
With the loss the
Cardinals fall to 8-3 on the year and 3-3 in the MIVA, while the Buckeyes improve
to 10-2 and 4-0 in league action.
Ball State next travels
to Chicago next weekend to play matches against No. 14 Lewis on Friday, Feb. 22
at 7 p.m., and (RV) Loyola on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. You can keep track of
the team on Twitter at @BallStateMVB or on Facebook at “Ball State Men’s
Volleyball”. As always, ballstatesports.com is the official site of Ball State