Ball State wins 7th straight

Columbus, Ohio -- The men's volleyball team stretched its winning streak to seven after a pair of weekend road victories.

The Cardinals swept Findlay, 30-25, 30-20, 30-23, on Friday and beat longtime rival No. 13 Ohio State Saturday in five games, 30-26, 28-30, 26-30, 30-24, 15-13. The Cards (12-1 overall, 7-0 MIVA) remain the only undefeated team in the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association.

On Friday, the Oilers faced No. 8 Ball State's second team, known as the Big Unit. Several players got their first starts of the season and the Big Unit did not disappoint.

"We see every day in practice that the Big Unit can challenge our first team on a regular basis," head coach Joel Walton said. "It's a group I'm very confident about."

The Big Unit continued a team trend by holding Findlay (9-7, 1-5) to a low percentage and hitting above .300 in the game. Walton said the Cards controlled every aspect of defense, which led to Findlay hitting .065.

Ball State got a great performance from Josh Lee, whose 11 kills and career-high 12 digs were game highs. Andrew Braley also earned a career-high 10 kills off of .714 hitting.

Walton said playing the Big Unit allowed him to rest a few players for the next night's match. He considers it a great asset to the team.

"It's really a nice luxury we have this year where we can play on back-to-back nights and still keep our guys fresh and ready to go," Walton said.

The Cards faced Ohio State (7-5, 3-2) on Saturday with history against them. Ball State had not won a match at Ohio State in more than five years and had lost 10 of the last 11 meetings.

Paul Fasshauer, Josh Hall and Amitai Sasson all said Saturday's win was more important to the team's overall goal of getting a high seed in the MIVA tournament than anything else. In the tournament, the highest seed in each match plays host. Hall said the Cards are on track to continue to host as far they can go.

The match itself was a struggle to the end, with Ball State pulling out wins in the last two games against an Ohio State team that had a supportive crowd behind it.

Walton said the plan was to control outside hitter Pieter Olree, and Ball State held him to two kills after game three. Olree, whom Walton says is Ohio State's go-to-guy, was held to .106 in the match.

"With (Olree) getting such a high number of their sets, he really dictates what they're able to do in games," he said.


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