Riding a 10-game win streak into the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association tournament semi-finals Wednesday night, the Ohio State men’s volleyball team was able to keep the streak alive with a 3-1 victory over Ball State.
After capturing their fourth straight regular season league title two weeks ago, the No. 10 Buckeyes waited 11 days before returning to the court Wednesday night, and the rust showed early on.
“It was a game where we didn’t play our best volleyball and when you can not play your best and still come out on top I think that speaks to our guys sticking to the game plan,” coach Pete Hanson said.
The Bucks took game one 30-24 thanks to strong offensive efforts from the OSU big men, but the tables turned Ball State’s way in game two.
Realizing there was work to be done, the Cardinals picked up their intensity in game two and their stifling defense was able to steal the second game from OSU.
“We lost a lot of points in some situations where Ball State kind of served us soft and were not used to seeing that ball and some different kinds of things,” Hanson said. “I think once we kind of ironed that out and started to just physically take over that’s when we played better.”
“Physically take over” is exactly what the Buckeyes did, out killing the Cardinals by a 67-49 margin in the match.
Led by the strong arms of Shawn Sangrey and John Klanac, OSU went on to take the next two games and the match.
“Ball State out blocked us, but we out killed them and when you out kill a team by a significant margin, like we did, typically you’re going to win and ultimately we did,” Hanson said.
With the win Wednesday night, the Buckeyes (21-7) now turn their sights to the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, who they will take on Saturday night for the MIVA tournament title and a trip to the NCAA semifinals.
“The key for us is playing better offensively,” Hanson said. “I think our offense will get sharper and it’s going to be another emotional battle. Whatever team shows up down here we going to have to play better.”
The Buckeyes and Ramblers will hit the court at 7 p.m. on Saturday night at St. John Arena for the MIVA tournament crown.