COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 7/10 Ohio State men's volleyball team advanced to the MIVA Tournament Championship match with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-15) victory over Ball State Wednesday night in St. John Arena. The No. 1 seed Buckeyes improved to 21-8 overall, while the No. 5 seed Cardinals concluded their season with a 14-12 record.
Ohio State will host No. 2 seed Lewis Saturday in Columbus. The MIVA Championship match is slated for 7 p.m. ET and admission is $5 for adults and free for students. The Buckeyes have won four straight championship matches in the last five appearances. The winner advances to the 2012 NCAA Division I-II Men's Volleyball Championships in Los Angeles, May 3-5.
Tonight's victory was an overall team effort as the Buckeyes finished the match with a .392 team attack percentage and added 19.0 total blocks. Ohio State's defense limited the Ball State offense to a .022 attack percentage - a season best for the Buckeye defensive corps.
Ohio State was led by seniors Shawn Sangrey and Mik Berzins. Sangrey paced the Buckeye offense with 15 kills, while Berzins led the OSU defense with 11 digs and added six block assists. Junior Grayson Overman dominated the net, finishing with 10 blocks (1s, 9a). Setter Peter Heinen had 33 assists with seven blocks (3s, 4a), while John Tholen had five blocks (1s, 4a).
A kill by Sangrey led to a three-point Buckeye rally to start set one and another major run highlighted by a pair of Overman/Berzins blocks led to a 9-4 Ohio State advantage. A Berzins kill triggered 5-1 run and Ohio State closed out the set on another big rally for a 25-14 win.
Ohio State opened the second set with a 3-0 lead and surged ahead for an 8-4 advantage. Up a point at 11-10, the Buckeyes pushed to a 15-12 lead and a kill by Overman sent Ohio State on another major run that led to a 25-18 win. A Michael Henchy service ace and a kill by Berzins brought the Buckeyes to a 4-1 lead in the final set. Ahead at 13-9, a Cardinal attack error led to a 7-1 OSU run for a 19-10 advantage. The Buckeyes advanced to the tournament title match with a 25-15 set three win.