No. 7/10 Ohio State Hosts Ball State Wednesday in MIVA Semifinal

Go Buckeyes! Mik Berzins
Go Buckeyes!
Mik Berzins
Go Buckeyes!

April 24, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The nationally-ranked and No. 1 seed Ohio State men’s volleyball team opens the postseason with a MIVA Tournament semifinal match vs. No. 5 seed Ball State Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET in St. John Arena.

Admission for the match is $5 for adults and free for students.

The winner faces the winner of No.2 seed Lewis/No. 3 seed Loyola-Chicago in the conference championship match, April 28, at the highest seed.

No. 1 Seed Ohio State Buckeyes (20-8) vs. No. 5 Seed Ball State Cardinals (14-11)

Wednesday, April 25 – 7 p.m. ET

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Live audio: MVB

The Buckeyes clinched the team’s sixth straight MIVA regular season title with a 3-1 win over IPFW, April 13. Ohio State and Lewis each finished the regular season with a 9-3 league record to share the title. The conference finish is the program’s 24th regular season MIVA title – a conference record.

Ohio State earned the No. 1 seed in this year’s tournament and had a first round bye. No. 2 Lewis defeated No. 7 Quincy in three sets, while No. 3 Loyola-Chicago topped No. 6 IPFW in four. No. 5 Ball State advanced to the semifinals with an upset over No. 4 Grand Canyon last weekend. The Buckeyes and Cardinals face off Wednesday night and the winner will face the winner of Lewis/Loyola-Chicago, April 28.

Senior opposite Shawn Sangrey was named the 2012 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association’s Player of the Year, the league announced Friday. It marks the third consecutive year a Buckeye has won the MIVA’s top honor and it’s the 20th in the program’s history.
                The Columbia, Pa., product enters the league tournament ranked first in the nation with a 4.97 kills-per-set average, including a 5.00 average in league play. A five-time MIVA Offensive player of the Week and the March 6 Sports Imports/AVCA Division I-II Men’s National Player of the Week, Sangrey also averaged 5.70 points, 2.00 digs, 0.36 aces and hit .262 in conference play.

Joining Sangrey on the MIVA All-Conference First Team is classmate Mik Berzins. The outside hitter from Brinklow, Md., averaged 2.78 kills per set in league play and was among the MIVA’s best in digs with a 2.04 digs average. He also finished eighth in conference matches with a 3.34 points average and 10th with a .296 attack percentage.
                Redshirt freshman Peter Heinen earned a spot on the league’s second team after guiding the Buckeye offense all season. The Wauwatosa, Wis., native finished second among the conference’s setters with an 11.32 assists-per-set average vs. MIVA opponents. He also totaled 23 blocks for a 0.56 average and had a 1.59 digs average.
                Middle blocker John Tholen was also placed on the second team. The Hilliard, Ohio, product finished with a 0.91 blocks-per-set average in 43 sets played vs. the MIVA. He averaged 1.42 kills and had a team-best .398 attack percentage in league play.



The No. 8/10 Ohio State closed out the regular season with a pair of matches, April 13 and April 15. The Buckeyes hosted IPFW that Friday and came away with a 3-1 win over the Mastodons to clinch a share of the MIVA regular season title. The squad then traveled to George Mason on the 15th and topped the Patriots, 3-0.
                Senior Shawn Sangrey had 31 kills in the Buckeyes win over IPFW, averaging 7.75 kills and 8.62 points in the match. Senior Mik Berzins had 29 kills over seven sets played for a 4.14 kills average. He also added 16 digs on the weekend. Libero Michael Piechowski led all Buckeyes with 27 total digs over the two matches, averaging 3.86 per set.

Senior Shawn Sangrey continues to be one of the top attackers in the country as he leads the nation in kills per set and total kills this year. The opposite from Columbia, Pa., is the only student-athlete to reach over 500 kills with 502 heading into Wednesday’s match. He also leads the country with a 4.97 kills per set average. Sangrey ranks 24th nationally with a .277 attack percentage, 25th in aces (.29) and 36th in digs (1.88).
                Middle blocker Grayson Overman is among the nation’s best blockers, sitting in 10th with a 1.25 blocks per set average. Senior Mik Berzins is 28th in digs per set with 2.01 and 36th with a .250 attack percentage, while redshirt freshman Peter Heinen is 10th in the country with a 10.55 assists per set average.

The Buckeyes hold on to the No. 10 spot nationally in the AVCA Division I-II Men’s Coaches Top 15 Poll and No. 7 in the Volleyball Magazine Men’s Division I-II Top 10 Poll. MIVA opponent Lewis is ranked seventh by the AVCA and eighth Volleyball Magazine.  Loyola-Chicago holds the No. 13 spot by the AVCA.

The Ball State Cardinals come to Columbus with a 14-11 overall mark. The squad finished the MIVA regular season at 5-7 and earned the No. 5 seed in the tournament. The Cardinals upset No. 4 seed Grand Canyon on the road, 3-1, to advance to the semifinals.
                The Buckeyes hold an 89-77 overall record vs. the Cardinals since the teams first met in 1968. Ohio State has won the last 11 of 12 matches with Ball State’s lone win coming in March of this season.
                Larry Wrather leads the Cardinal offense with a 2.54 kills per set average, while Kevin Owens has a team-best .401 attack percentage. That mark ranks second in the MIVA. Setter Graham McIlvaine averages 8.55 assists per set and middle blocker Matt Leske leads the conference with a 1.33 blocks average.