At long last coach Joel Walton has his first MIVA Tournament victory against Ohio State.
Walton in his final season before retiring ended an 11-match postseason losing streak to his team’s oldest rival as the No. 4 seed Ball State defeated the No. 5 Ohio State 31-29, 25-19, 21-25, 28-26 in the quarterfinals on Saturday in Muncie, Indiana.
Ball State out-hit Ohio State .388 to .333, including having a team-best .455 attack percentage in the fourth game. In addition, the Cardinals in the fourth game trailed 20-16 before going on a 6-2 run to tie the game and then eventually won in overtime to secure the program’s first postseason win versus the Buckeyes since 1997.
All-MIVA opposite Blake Reardon had a game-high eight kills in the fourth game and finished the match leading Ball State (12-7, 8-6 MIVA) with 19 kills on a .500 attack percentage.
Reardonn was one of three Cardinals to have at least nine kills against the Buckeyes (9-10, 8-6 MIVA). All-MIVA outside attacker Kaleb Jenness had 16 kills, while All-MIVA middle attacker Felix Egharevba added nine kills on a team-best .667 attack percentage.
Egharevba one week removed from setting a single-match program record with 16 blocks had a match-high seven blocks in the postseason win.
Ohio State outside attacker Sotiris Siapanis making his postseason debut led all players with 25 kills. The MIVA Newcomer of the Year also one of three Buckeyes to have double-digit kills in the loss.
This is the second consecutive MIVA Tournament the Buckeyes have lost in the opening round. Ohio State before these most recent two postseasons had won three consecutive MIVA Tournament championships.
Ball State will advance to play the No. 1 seed Lewis in the MIVA Tournament semifinals on Saturday in Romeoville. The MIVA regular season champions swept the No. 8 seed Quincy in its quarterfinals match.
The Cardinals have not advanced beyond the MIVA Tournament semifinals since beating the Flyers to reach the 2009 conference tournament finals.