It was almost too fitting for setter Michael Wright to have a big performance on the road at Ball State.
The setter midway through the season was inserted into the lineup late in a blow-out road loss to its conference rival.
Wright, 11 consecutive wins later, is now a permanent fixture in the Ohio State starting lineup and ended the Saturday night hoisting both the MIVA championship trophy and the trophy for the tournament’s most valuable player.
Wright finished with 54 assists and guided the offense to a .363 attack percentage as the No. 3 seed Ohio State beat the No. 1 seed Ball State 27-25, 25-17, 19-25, 25-19 in the MIVA Tournament finals on Saturday.
The Buckeyes opened the championship match hitting .414 in their frist-game overtime win – the first of three games the team hit at least .300. In addition, Ohio State closed out the match committing one attack error and having a match-best .600 in the fourth game.
Ohio State had three players finish with double-digit kills en route to winning their first MIVA championship since 2018.
Outside attacker Jacob Pasteur led all players with 19 kills, including having a game-high six kills in the final game. Freshman opposite Shane Wetzel added 16 kills on a .333 attack percentage, while middle attacker Cole Young contributed 10 kills and hit a match-best .643.
Along with the offensive performance, Wright had a match-high three aces. Ohio State ended with six aces – four more aces than the Cardinals.
Ball State rallied from hitting zero in the second game and had more than a .350 attack percentage in each of the final two games. In addition, the Cardinals finished hitting .275 in front of a home crowd of 3.153 people.
All-MIVA outside attacker Kaleb Jenness in his final college match led Ball State with 16 kills on a .400 attack percentage.
Outside attacker Tinaishe Ndavazocheva had 15 kills and was the only other Cardinal to have more than double-digit kills.
Ball State after ending its 20-year MIVA championship drought last season was attempting to win back-to-back championships for the program’s first time since the 1990s.
Ohio State with this win will receive the MIVA’s automatic berth to the seven-team NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes are projected to be no higher than the No. 5 seed, according to the latest Off the Block bracketology.