Ball State Men’s Volleyball (14-2, 6-1 MIVA) traveled to Columbus, Ohio, March 16 for a matchup with Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) rival Ohio State (4-4, 9-10 MIVA). The Cardinals and Buckeyes went to five sets, but Ball State came away with the close victory. Here are three takeaways:
The Cardinal Attack is in fine form
In the road matchup, graduate student opposite attacker Angelos Mandilaris, senior outside attacker Kaleb Jenness and freshman middle blocker Vanis Buckholz combined for 66 kills. The team combined for 70, the third-most in a match this season. When defense begins to wain late in long matches, the Cardinals can lean on an exceptionally well-balanced attack to finish out the match. With a .356 average hitting percentage so far this season, Ball State is efficient where it matters.
The MIVA is a challenging conference
Despite being voted outside of the top 15 in the weekly AVCA coaching poll and sitting three places behind the Cardinals in the MIVA standings before the matchup, the Buckeyes were able to put up a fight and keep the match competitive.
Ball State has gone to a fourth set or more in 5-out-of-7 MIVA matches this season, with wins not being guaranteed. The conference is regarded highly across the country and with a vast amount of parity, will be one to keep an eye on at the end of the season.
Senior middle blocker Felix Egharevba had another successful night defending the tape with a team-high four blocks. Buckholz and graduate student setter Quinn Isaacson both had three to compliment Egharevba. The Cardinals rank third nationwide in blocks per set, averaging 2.6 – big blocks have become a key to the Ball State defense when looking to stuff opponents, turn the momentum and score quick points.
Ball State will host Ohio State for a rematch in Worthen Arena March 19 at 7 p.m.
Contact Daniel kehn with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @daniel_kehn.