MEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Another shot at No. 4 Ohio State
Cardinals can end nine-game losing streak to Buckeyes
While it may commonly be called a rivalry, the battle between Ball State and Ohio State in men's volleyball has shifted into a more one-sided matchup.
Nine straight matches between the No. 4 Buckeyes and Cardinals have ended with a loss for the red and white.
Most recently, the battle between the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association foes featured Ohio State sweeping Ball State 3-0 on Feb. 18.
Now, the Cardinals (10-6, 3-3 MIVA) have a shot at preventing the losing streak from reaching double-digits. They travel to Columbus to play the Buckeyes ( 14-2, 7-0 MIVA) today before facing off against Princeton on Saturday.
While recent history doesn't speak well for Ball State's chances against Ohio State, the Cardinals have more momentum entering today's match than they did against the Buckeyes three weeks ago.
The Cardinals have defeated their previous four opponents and have brought new life to a season that was recently beginning to take a deadly turn. One of those wins came against George Mason, who dispatched Ball State in the first 2011 match between the two teams.
Ball State is also featuring a lineup that includes a few different players from earlier in the season.
What was once a starting squad that primarily included Graham McIllvaine and Marcus Imwalle has now become a team that features players like Dan Wichmann and Larry Wrather.
Wichmann has started each of the Cardinals' previous four matches at setter, which were all victories for Ball State. He has averaged 9.19 assists and 4.25 digs in that span and has directed the offense to a .277 attack percentage.
However, Ohio State hasn't shown any signs of slowing down either since Feb. 18.
The Buckeyes have not only gone undefeated in the MIVA so far, but have also yet to lose a single game in conference matches.
Outside attacker Shawn Sangrey, who blasted 15 kills against Ball State on Feb. 18, boasts a team-leading 4.39 kill average for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes are also holding their opponents to a .244 attack percentage, which could greatly limit an already inconsistent Cardinal offense.
While Ball State and Ohio State share a great deal of history in men's volleyball, Princeton is an unfamiliar opponent. The last time Ball State and Princeton met was in 1994.
Ball State will take to the court against Ohio State today at 7 p.m. before playing Princeton Saturday at the same time.