MEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Ohio State takes down Ball State in Columbus
Cardinals' solid defense undone by errors on offense
Ohio wasn't kind to Ball State sports Friday night.
Only 150 miles away from the site of the Mid-American Conference men's basketball tournament, the Ball State men's volleyball team fell to Ohio State in Columbus Friday night 3-1 (21-25, 18-25, 25-15, 25-22).
A ferocious comeback in the third game wasn't enough to spark an upset win for the unranked Cardinals over the No. 4 Buckeyes. The loss extends Ball State's losing streak against Ohio State to 10 games and ends its recent four-game winning streak.
"We did some good things," coach Joel Walton said. "We were still struggling just to be consistent with our offense. There were times where our passing was good, and other times where our passing really went away."
A combination of injuries and an illness forced Ohio State's top outside attacker, Shawn Sangrey, out of the match.
While the Cardinals took advantage of the gaping hole in the Buckeyes' lineup on defense, holding them to a .203 attack percentage, their inconsistent offense continued to be a hindrance.
Ball State finished the match with .163 success rate, which was only .020 better than its percentage against Ohio State on Feb. 18.
While Ball State received solid contributions from Lee Meyer, who scored 13 kills and a .379 percentage, and Anders Nelson, who hit nine kills for a .412 percentage, the rest of the team wasn't able to match them.
Four other Cardinals who hit at least three kills in the match ended with blank attack rates of .000. Ball State ended with its highest total of errors in the 2011 season with 32.
Walton said his team still managed to make some successful plays, even in defeat.
"Our serving disrupted Ohio State and allowed us to put together some big runs," he said.
With the loss, Ball State falls to 10-7 on the season and 3-4 in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Ohio State improved to 15-2 and stayed an undefeated 8-0 in the conference.
Ball State will travel to New Jersey for a match against an unfamiliar Princeton today. The two teams have not played each other since 1994.