No. 12 Ohio State looked as if momentum from its win against Erskine on Jan. 19 was going to carry over into the team’s first MIVA match of the season.
Facing No. 13 Ball State, Ohio State quickly went out to a 5-0 lead to start the first set, recording a .450 hit percentage in an easy 25-14 set win.
But the momentum quickly returned to the Cardinals (4-4, 1-0 MIVA), who won each of the next three sets — 25-20, 25-22 and 25-22 — to hand Ohio State (3-4, 0-1 MIVA) its first conference loss of the season and its fourth loss in five games.
Ball State had a grasp on the fourth set of the match, pulling out to a 15-7 lead. However, the Buckeyes came back with a 13-5 run of its own, tying the set up at 20. However, the Cardinals secured the victory, recording five points in the next seven serves.
Ohio State redshirt sophomore opposite hitter Jake Hanes, the No. 1 point producer in the country, led the team with 20.5 points, accumulating 18 kills in the loss to Ball State.
Hanes and sophomore opposite hitter Martin Lallemand each recorded four kills in the first set, leading to the nine-point victory for the Buckeyes.
Even with the momentum continuing into the second set, as Ohio State took a 14-10 lead, Ball State stepped up on its home floor, taking 11 of the next 13 points and ending the set on a 21-6 run.
Ball State senior middle attacker Parker Swartz recorded three aces in the second set. He ended the match with five aces, leading the team.
Six errors and zero aces for Ohio State secured the Cardinals’ third-set victory. The Buckeyes finished the game with 17 total errors, including nine by Hanes, who recorded four service errors Saturday.
Ohio State senior setter Sanil Thomas, who is No. 7 in the country averaging 10.57 assists per set, finished the game with a team-leading 34 assists, adding 10 digs and one of four aces the team had against the Cardinals.
No. 12 Ohio State will return home to face Saint Francis and Lincoln Memorial at St. John Arena Friday and Saturday.