COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 10th-ranked Ohio State (8-5, 5-1 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) men’s volleyball team travels west to play at sixth-ranked Cal Irvine (9-9, 6-7 MPSF) in a two-match series. The 7 p.m. PT Friday and Saturday matches will be played in BrenEventsCenter. The Anteaters are the defending NCAA champion, winning the title last May at OhioState. The two-match series begins a series of eight road matches over the next four weeks for the Buckeyes.
A LOOK AT OHIOSTATE
The 10th-ranked Buckeyes are coached by Pete Hanson. OhioState is 8-5 overall and has a 5-1 record in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Last week, at home, the Buckeyes lost 3-1 (30-27, 30-22, 30-28, 27-30) and 3-0 (30-27, 30-27, 30-23) to third-ranked Long BeachState in St. John Arena. Leading the Buckeyes in points per game is Robbie Klein (Sr.-Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio) with a 4.51 average. Brett Versen (5th-Sr., Centerville, Ohio) ranks second at 4.39. Klein leads the team with a 3.94 kills per game average with Versen averaging 3.64. Kevin Heine (So.-Fr., St. Louis, Mo.) is the top percentage hitter on the squad at .492. Ben Spurlock (Sr.-So., Stow, Ohio) ranks second at .465. Setter Daniel Mathews (Sr., Shorewood, Wis.) is averaging 12.56 assists per game for OhioState. Versen has a team-high 16 ace serves and a .34 per game average. Mathews ranks second with 14 (.31) and Klein is third with 12 (.26). Defensively, Conor Martin (Sr., Avon Lake, Ohio) leads the team with a 2.70 digs per game average. Mathews ranks second at 1.49 with Klein third at 1.45. John Klanac (So.-Fr., Orchard Park, N.Y.) has a team-high .975 reception percentage handling 158 of 162 attempts. Klein ranks second at .973 (283 of 291) and Martin is third at .957 (351-368). At the net, Heine leads the team with a 1.18 blocks per game average with three solos and 43 assist blocks. Mathews ranks second at 1.13 with five solos and 46 assists and Spurlock is third at 1.04 with three solos and 345 assists. As a team, OhioState is averaging 19.00 points, 14.68 kills and 13.64 assists per game while hitting .294. The Buckeyes average 1.34 aces, 9.53 digs and 2.98 blocks per game. OSU opponents average 17.19 points, 13.28 kills and 12.66 assists per game while hitting .214. Buckeye opponents average 1.04 aces, 9.28 digs and 2.87 blocks per game.
A LOOK AT UC IRVINE
The sixth-ranked Anteaters are coached by John Speraw. UC Irvine is 9-9 overall and has a 6-7 record in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Last week, the Anteaters lost 3-0 (30-27, 30-24, 30-26) at fourth-ranked Cal State Northridge and defeated 14th-ranked UC Santa Barbara, 3-0 (30-23, 30-25, 30-28) at home. Taylor Wilson leads the team with a 4.97 points per game average. Cory Yoder ranks second at 3.61. Wilson has a team-high 4.11 kills per game average with Yoder second at 3.17. Leading the squad in hitting percentage is Yoder at .281. Jon Steller ranks second at .273. Setter Anthony Spittle is averaging 11.92 assists per game with Ryan Ammerman at 6.64. Steller has a team-high 23 ace serves and a .37 per game average. Wilson ranks second with 12 (.32) and Aaron Harrell is third with 10 (.17). Defensively, Brent Asuka leads the team with a 2.96 digs per game average. Wilson ranks second at 1.58. At the net, Kevin Wynne is averaging 1.53 blocks per game to lead the squad. He has nine solos and 72 assists. Harrell ranks second at 1.30 with five solos and 73 assists. UC Irvine is averaging 19.67 points, 15.11 kills and 14.36 assists per game while hitting .280. The Anteaters average 1.33 aces, 10.47 digs and 3.23 blocks per game. Opponents average 17.92 points, 14.12 kills and 13.38 assists per game while hitting .236. Anteater opponents average 1.33 aces, 9.36 digs and 2.66 blocks per game.
UC IRVINE – OHIOSTATE SERIES HISTORY
UC Irvine leads the series with OhioState, 2-1. Each team has won a match at Irvine and the Anteaters have a neutral-site victory. OhioState opened the series in 1989 with a 3-2 (15-6, 6-15, 15-6, 1-15, 15-12) win at Irvine. The Anteaters won, 3-0 (15-10, 15-9, 15-8) at Irvine in 1992 and won 3-1 (30-28, 27-30, 30-20, 30-24) in 2004 at the Volleyball Hall of Fame Classic in Springfield, Mass.
KLEIN RECORDS HIS FOURTH 20+ KILL MATCH OF THE SEASON
Robbie Klein recorded 20 kills in the Long BeachState match Friday for his fourth 20-plus kill match of the season. He hit .486 in the match adding a solo block, two assist blocks and equaled his season high of 10 digs. Klein handled 32 of 34 reception attempts against the 49ers. In the match Saturday, he had seven kills, three digs and two assist blocks while handling 19 of 20 reception attempts. Klein has started all 13 matches this season and leads the Buckeyes in points (4.51 per game) and kills (3.94). He is averaging .26 aces, 1.45 digs and .53 blocks per game. Klein has a .973 reception percentage, handling 283 of 291 attempts.
KLEIN NOW 20TH IN OSU CAREER KILLS
Robbie Klein, with 27 kills last weekend, has 744 career kills and has moved to 20th on the OhioState career kills list. He moved past Adam Pedersen (2001-04) with 743. Klein needs two kills to move past No. 19 Eduardo Marxuach (1995-97) with 745.
VERSEN HAS DOUBLE-FIGURE KILLS IN BOTH LONG BEACHSTATE MATCHES
Brett Versen recorded 11 kills in each of the matches against Long BeachState. He added three digs, a solo block and two assist blocks in the Friday match and had a dig and a solo block in the Saturday match. Versen has started all 13 matches this season and is averaging 4.39 points and 3.64 kills per game. He leads the team in ace serves with 16 and a .34 per game average. Versen is averaging 1.38 digs and .72 blocks per game.
SPURLOCK HITS A SEASON-HIGH .733 FRIDAY AGAINST THE 49ERS
Ben Spurlock had 11 kills in 15 attempts with no errors in Friday’s Long Beach State match for a season-high .733 hitting percentage. His previous best this season was .636 (8-1-11) against Loyola-Chicago. Spurlock added an ace serve, two digs and three assist blocks in the match. In Saturday’s match, he had five kills, two assist blocks and a dig. Spurlock has started all 13 matches this season. He is averaging 2.60 points, 1.91 kills, .43 digs and 1.04 blocks per game.
HEINE HITS A CAREER-HIGH .700 IN SATURDAY’S MATCH AGAINST THE 49ERS
Kevin Heine hit a career-high .700 in the match Saturday against Long BeachState. He had seven kills in 10 attempts with no errors. His previous high was .692 (9-0-13) at Rutgers-Newark. Heine added five assist blocks and a dig against the 49ers. He had six kills (.385), a solo block and two assist blocks in the Friday match. Heine has played in 12 matches with 11 starts. He is averaging 2.71 points and 2.00 kills per game and is the team leader in blocks per game with a 1.18 per game average.
KLANAC RECORDS HIS THIRD DOUBLE-FIGURE KILL MATCH OF THE SEASON
John Klanac had his third double-figure kill match of the season Saturday against Long BeachState. He posted 10 kills in his eighth start of the season. Klanac added three digs and an assist block in the match and handled 19 of 20 reception attempts. He saw action in the Friday match, recording four digs, an ace serve and handled 14 of 15 reception attempts. Klanac has played in all 13 matches and is averaging 2.47 points, 2.03 kills, 1.29 digs and .47 blocks per game. He has a .975 reception percentage handling 158 of 162 attempts.
MATHEWS COLLECTS A SEASON-HIGH NINE DIGS IN FRIDAY’S MATCH AGAINST LONG BEACHSTATE
Daniel Mathews had a season-high nine digs against Long BeachState Friday. His previous high this season was seven at BallState. Mathews collected 47 assists, a solo block and three assist blocks in the match. In Saturday’s match, he recorded 38 assists and had team highs of six digs and six assist blocks. Mathews has started all 13 matches this season and is averaging 12.56 assists per game. He is averaging 1.31 points, .38 kills, .31 aces, 1.49 digs and 1.13 blocks per game.
MATHEWS NOW 12TH IN OSU CAREER SOLO BLOCKS
Daniel Mathews, with a solo block Friday against Long Beach State, has moved out of a tie for 12th on the Ohio State career solo blocks list. He had been tied with Eduardo Marxuach (1995-97). Mathews needs two solo blocks to pass No. 11 Steve Potter (1992-95) with 42.
MATHEWS MOVES TO SIXTH IN OSU CAREER ASSIST BLOCKS
Daniel Mathews collected nine assist blocks last week against Long BeachState (three Friday and six Saturday) to move to seventh on the OhioState career assist blocks list with 318. He passed No. 7 Adam Spitznagle (1993-96) with 315. Mathews needs four assist blocks to move past No. 6 Layne Dreven (2004-07) with 321.
MARTIN MOVES TO THIRD IN OSU CAREER DIGS
Conor Martin had 12 digs last weekend (eight Friday and four Saturday) against Long BeachState to raise his career total to 646 and move to third on the OhioState career digs list. He moved past Tom Trantow (2000-03) with 639. Next on the career list is No. 2 Jose’ Bengoa (1994-97) with 733. Martin handled 28 of 31 reception attempts Friday and 27 of 29 Saturday. He has started all 13 matches at libero this season and has a team-high 2.70 digs per game average. Martin has a .957 reception percentage handling 352 of 368 attempts.
TOBKIN HAS FIFTH START OF THE SEASON
Jason Tobkin (So.-Fr., Fairfield, Ohio) had his fifth start of the season in the Friday match against Long BeachState. He recorded four kills, a dig, and a solo block and handled nine reception attempts without an error in the match. Tobkin saw action in one game in Saturday’s match. For the season, he has played in 12 matches and is averaging 2.24 points, 1.93 kills, .97 digs and .45 blocks per game. He has a .950 reception percentage, handling 113 of 119 attempts.
OHIO STATE IN THE NATIONAL STATISTICS
OhioState has five players ranked in the Feb. 25th release of the Division I-II National Statistics Leaders. Kevin Heine is ranked fourth in hitting percentage at .492 with Ben Spurlock tied for sixth at .465. In kills per game, Robbie Klein is 20th at 3.94. At 10th in digs per game, Connor Martin has a 2.70 average. Daniel Mathews is ranked sixth in assists per game with a 12.56 average. As a team, OhioState has the fifth-best hitting percentage in the country at .294.
OHIO STATE IN THE MIVA STATISTICS
The Buckeyes are well represented in the conference only statistics of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Conor Martin is the conference leader in digs per game at 3.22. Daniel Mathews ranks 16th at 1.48 and Robbie Klein and Brett Versen are tied for 18th at 1.43. Versen is second in the conference in aces per game at .57. Daniels ranks fifth at .48 with John Klanac tied for 18th at .22 and Klein, 20th at .22. In blocks per game, Ben Spurlock ranks second in the league at 1.18. At third, Mathews is 1.17 with Kevin Heine ranked 13th at .94 and Versen, 18th at .74. Mathews is third in the league in assists per game at 12.35. Versen ranks fourth in points per game at 4.63 with Klein tied for fifth at 4.50. In kills per game, Klein is tied for second at 4.00 with Versen seventh at 3.65 and Jason Tobkin ranked 20th at 2.08. Spurlock is OSU’s top percentage hitter at .425, ranking fourth. Heine ranks fifth at .424, Versen is 11th at .327 and Klein is 19th at .251. As a team, OhioState ranks first in hitting percentage at .287 and is second blocks (3.07), aces (1.78) and digs (10.26) per game. OSU ranks third in assists at 13.30 per game. The Buckeyes are fourth in kills per game at 14.52. Defensively, OhioState is first in hitting percentage (.169), kills (12.00) and assists (11.39). The Buckeyes rank second in aces at .87 per game and third in digs at 9.43 and fourth blocks at 2.72 per game.
OHIO STATE RANKED 10TH IN THE CSTV/AVCA COACHES POLL
OhioState was 10th in the CSTV/AVCA Division I-II Men’s Top 15 Coaches released Feb. 18. OSU was ranked 10th in the poll last week. The Buckeyes began the season ranked 10th in the preseason poll and have been as high as seventh. Other MIVA conference teams ranked in the poll are Loyola-Chicago 13th, BallState 14th and IPFW 15th. Lewis received votes in the poll.
OHIO STATE RANKED 10TH IN THE VOLLEYBALL MAGAZINE POLL
Ohio State is ranked 10th in the Volleyball Magazine Men’s College Top 10 Poll released Feb. 26. OhioState began the 2008 season unranked in the Top 10, but had received votes. The Buckeyes have been as high as fifth in the poll. BallState is listed as receiving votes. The poll is conducted by Volleyball Magazine and voted on by members of the national men’s volleyball media.
VERSEN NAMED THE MIVA PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Feb. 5
Brett Versen was named the MIVA Player of the Week as he played a key role in conference home victories over Lewis 3-0 (32-30, 30-25, 30-27) and No. 14 Loyola-Chicago 3-2 (30-26, 27-30, 30-16, 28-30, 15-13) to keep the seventh-ranked, 6-1 Buckeyes undefeated in league play at 5-0.
Versen had a career-high 24.5 points in the win over Lewis, tying his career high of 20 kills and adding a season-high nine digs. He hit .368 in the match, added three ace serves, a solo block and an assist block. He then produced 24 points in the victory over then No. 14-Loyola-Chicago, recording 19 kills while hitting .417. He tied his career high of four ace serves while adding three digs and two assist blocks. Versen had three kills and an ace serve in the fifth game against the Ramblers and had the match-winning kill for the victory. For the weekend he averaged 6.06 points and 4.88 kills per game while hitting .392. Versen also averaged .88 aces, 1.50 digs and .50 blocks per game. He has had double-figure kills in each of his last nine matches (including two from 2007).
HEAD COACH PETE HANSON
Pete Hansonis in his 24th season at OhioState. He has a 465-260 record with the Buckeyes and has 10 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Championships, including 2007. Named the MIVA Coach of the Year seven times, including 2007, he was the American Volleyball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year in 2000 when OSU was the NCAA National Championship runner-up. Hanson was also the 1998 Volleyball Magazine Coach of the Year. His teams have advanced to the NCAA Championships six times including back-to-back appearances in 2000 (runner-up) and 2001 (semifinalist).
OHIO STATE PICKED SECOND IN THE 2008 MIVA PRESEASON POLL
OhioState, the 2007 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association regular season champion, has been picked to finish second in the conference by a vote of the league coaches. The Buckeyes received 40 points and three first-place votes. IPFW, the 2007 MIVA Tournament Champion and NCAA Tournament finalist was picked to finish first receiving 44 points and four first-place votes. Lewis was picked to finish third (34 points), Loyola-Chicago fourth (33) and BallState fifth (24). Rounding out the voting was Quincy at sixth (13) and Mercyhurst at seventh (8).
MATHEWS AND KLEIN NAMED TO 2008 MIVA PRESEASON TEAM
OhioState had two players named to the 2008 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Preseason All-Conference Team. The selections, voted by the league coaches, were setter Daniel Mathews and outside hitter Robbie Klein.
Mathews, a 2007 American Volleyball Coaches Association first team All-American and a two-time first team All-MIVA selection averaged 12.53 assists per game last season in conference play. He averaged .79 blocks, .91 digs, .42 aces and .63 kills per game while hitting .308.
Klein was a second team All-MIVA selection last season. He averaged 3.28 kills, .19 assists, .33 aces, 1.37 digs and .72 blocks per game while hitting .307.
Also named to the team were middle attacker Matt McCarthy and libero Ian Peckler of Ball State, outside hitters C. J. Macias and Brock Ulrich and middle hitter Josh Stewart of IPFW, opposite Ian Anderson and outside hitter Joe Guntli of Loyola-Chicago and outside hitter Jared Dayton of Lewis.
THE UPCOMING SCHEDULE
OhioState returns to conference play next week with matches at Mercyhurst and IFPW. The Buckeyes will travel to the Mercyhurst Lakers Thursday and the IFPW Mastodons Saturday in 7 p.m. starts.