MEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Cardinals' losing streak against Buckeyes reaches nine games
Ball State travels to Columbus for next Ohio State game on March 11
Every team experiences a streak of some kind. Some have more winning streaks than losing streaks.
Right now, Ball State just doesn't have an answer for Ohio State. The Cardinals were swept by the Buckeyes 25-16, 25-21, 28-26 Friday night at Worthen Arena. The loss is Ball State's ninth in a row in the series against Ohio State.
But more than just a win and pride is on the line in this series.
"It's really hard in a lot of ways," Ball State coach Joel Walton said. "We recruit against them extensively. It's frustrating for me and a grind on our guys. Until we get that win and get the monkey off our backs there's going to be more pressure on us."
In the last several seasons Ohio State has found ways to defeat Ball State. Friday night was no different. While both teams played solid defense, combining for 25.5 blocks and 55 digs in the contest, the Buckeyes had just a little more offense.
Shawn Sangrey led all attackers with 15 kills and John Klanac added 11 for Ohio State. Larry Wrather was the only Ball State player in double digits with 11 kills.
"Tonight we played really well and came together at the end," Wrather said. "It was really difficult to close out the third set. To have it in our hands and it to drop is a hard thing. I really want to beat them bad."
Ball State hasn't beaten Ohio State since a 3-1 victory in February 2008.
Even with the loss, Walton knows his team will have the opportunity against Ohio State. The Cardinals will travel to Columbus March 11.
"A losing streak isn't something you tend to focus on as a team," Walton said. "You're giving your players the information they need to be successful. You're telling them what Ohio State is going to do offensively and what we need to do defensively.
"It's never about the streak or 'I'm tired of losing to these guys.' It's about the next game and what we need to do to be successful."
Defensively, Ball State held Ohio State well below its season attack percentage to a .224 rate of success. The strong defensive effort wasn't enough to break the streak, however.
"Every match should be big no matter who you're playing," Wrather said. "Ohio State is pretty big for us. We can take away that we can play with them and beat them. It helps us to know what we can work on in practice."