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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 11th-ranked Ohio State (9-6, 5-1 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) men’s volleyball team returns to league action with road matches at Mercyhurst (3-11, 0-4) Thursday and at No. 15 IPFW (8-6, 3-3) Saturday. The Buckeyes face the Mercyhurst Lakers Thursday at the Mercyhurst Athletics Center. Ohio State then travels to face the IPFW Mastodons Saturday at the Gates Sports Center. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. This is the second week of four consecutive weeks the Buckeyes are playing on the road.

WEB BROADCAST OF MERCYHURST – OHIO STATE MATCH AVAILABLE

B2 Networks will web broadcast (video only) the Ohio State-Mercyhurst match Thursday as a pay-per-view event. The cost is $6. The pay-per-view link is: https://www.b2livetv.com/liveevents/Volleyball/NCAA/MIVA/Mercyhurst/billnow.asp

A LOOK AT OHIO STATE

The 11th-ranked Buckeyes are coached by Pete Hanson. Ohio State is 9-6 overall and has a 5-1 record in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Last week, Ohio State split a pair of matches at defending NCAA Champion and sixth-ranked UC Irvine. The Anteaters won, 3-0 (23-30, 25-30, 13-30), Friday. OSU came from behind to defeat UC Irvine, 3-2 (30-25, 23-30, 18-30, 30-24, 15-13), Saturday. Leading the Buckeyes in points per game is Robbie Klein (Sr.-Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio) with a 4.44 average. Brett Versen (5th-Sr., Centerville, Ohio) ranks second at 4.36. Klein leads the team with a 3.89 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 .470. Ben Spurlock (Sr.-So., Stow, Ohio) ranks second at .462. Setter Daniel Mathews (Sr., Shorewood, Wis.) is averaging 12.13 assists per game for Ohio State. Versen has a team-high 18 ace serves and a .33 per game average. Mathews ranks second with 14 (.26) and Klein is third with 12 (.22). Defensively, Conor Martin (Sr., Avon Lake, Ohio) leads the team with a 2.56 digs per game average. Mathews ranks second at 1.43 with Versen third at 1.38. Klein has a team-high .962 reception percentage handling 332 of 345 attempts. Martin ranks second at .960 (411 of 428) and John Klanac (So.-Fr., Orchard Park, N.Y.) is third at .955 (170-178). At the net, Heine leads the team with a 1.32 blocks per game average with three solos and 59 assist blocks. Mathews ranks second at 1.13 with six solos and 54 assist blocks and Spurlock is third at 1.00 with three solos and 51 assist blocks. As a team, Ohio State is averaging 18.55 points, 14.25 kills and 13.29 assists per game while hitting .287. The Buckeyes average 1.27 aces, 9.07 digs and 3.02 blocks per game. OSU opponents average 17.38 points, 13.53 kills and 12.93 assists per game while hitting .232. Buckeye opponents average 1.16 aces, 9.11 digs and 2.69 blocks per game.

A LOOK AT MERCYHURST

The Lakers are coached by Ryan Patton. Mercyhurst has a 3-11 overall record and is 0-4 in the MIVA. Last week, the Lakers lost, 3-0 (30-16, 30-26, 30-20), at Princeton and won at Sacred Heart, 3-0 (30-23, 30-25, 30-22). The team leader in points per game for Mercyhurst is Tim Wagner at 3.59. Dave Newman ranks second at 3.88. Wagner has a team-high 2.98 kills per game average with Newman second at 2.94. Leading the team in hitting percentage at .429 is Newman with Jonathan Gurr second at .207. At setter, David Hatten has a 9.63 assists per game. Wagner has a team-high 12 ace serves and a .24 per game average. Gurr is second with nine ace serves and a .20 average. Defensively, Jordan Pierson leads the team in digs per game with a 2.02 average. Ranking second is David Hatten at 1.49. Jeff Hartman has a team-high .939 reception percentage handling 245 of 261 attempts. Gurr is second at .928 handling 207 of 223 attempts. At the net, Newman is averaging 1.35 blocks per game with 10 solos and 56 attempts. At .96 per game, Hatten ranks second with nine solos and 38 assists. As a team, Mercyhurst is averaging 16.61 points, 12.82 kills and 11.74 assists while hitting .231. The Lakers average 1.02 aces, 8.30 digs and 2.77 blocks per game. Laker opponents average 19.59 points, 15.38 kills and 14.16 assists per game while hitting .296. Mercyhurst opponents average 1.82 aces, 8.24 digs and 2.39 blocks per game.

MERCYHURST – OHIO STATE SERIES HISTORY

Ohio State has won all 23 matches with Mercyhurst. The Buckeyes are 11-0 in matches played at Mercyhurst and 12-0 in Columbus. Last season, Ohio State won 3-0 (30-16, 30-18, 30-18) at Erie and 3-0 (30-25, 30-23, 30-28) in Columbus. The Buckeyes have not lost a game in the last nine matches.

A LOOK AT IPFW

The 15th-ranked Mastodons are coached by Arnie Ball. IPFW has an 8-6 overall record and is 3-3 in the MIVA. Last week, IPFW lost, 3-2 (30-26, 27-30, 30-20, 32-34, 15-10) to 13th-ranked Loyola-Chicago and defeated Quincy, 3-0 (30-8, 30-26, 30-17) in home matches. Leading the Mastodons in points per game is C.J. Macias with a 4.62 average. Jason Yhost ranks second at 4.13. Macias leads the team with a 3.82 kills per game average with Yhost second at 3.55. Leading the squad in hitting percentage is Josh Stewart at .436. Oliver Kook ranks second at .368. At setter, Graydon Ainsworth has an 11.05 assist per game average. Brock Ullrich leads the team with 28 aces and a .55 per game average. Macias ranks second with 21 and a .43 average. Defensively, Matt Pliske has a team-high 2.85 digs per game average with Ullrich ranking second at 1.43. Macias leads the team in reception percentage at .973 handling, 332 of 339 attempts. Ullrich is second at .970, handling 361 of 372 attempts. At the net, Stewart has a team-high 1.18 blocks per game average with eight solos and 51 assist blocks. Kook ranks second at .94 with four solos and 40 assist blocks. As a team, IPFW averages 18.47 points, 13.94 kills and 12.85 assists per game while hitting .267. The Mastodons average 1.83 aces, 9.26 digs and 2.69 blocks per game. Opponents average 17.26 points, 13.72 kills and 12.93 assists per game while hitting .254. IPFW opponents average .85 aces, 8.89 digs and 2.69 blocks per game.

IPFW – OHIO STATE SERIES HISTORY

Ohio State has a 59-33 advantage in the series with IPFW that dates back to 1980. The Buckeyes are 33-11 in Columbus, 17-19 in Ft. Wayne and 9-3 at neutral sites. Ohio State won two of the three matches played last season. OSU won 3-1 at IFPW (24-30, 30-25, 30-22, 30-26) and 3-1 in Columbus (27-30, 30-23, 30-27, 30-22) in regular-season conference matches. The Mastodons defeated Ohio State, 3-0 (30-22, 30-27, 30-26) in the championship match of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament. Ohio State opened the 2008 season with a 3-2 (25-30, 30-28, 25-30, 30-21, 15-6) win over the Mastodons in Columbus.

HEINE COLLECTS A CAREER-HIGH 10 ASSIST BLOCKS SATURDAY AGAINST UC IRVINE

Kevin Heine recorded a career-high 10 assist blocks in the 3-2 victory at UC Irvine Saturday. His previous high was seven this season against Juniata. He added five kills, an assist and one dig in the match. He scored the match-winning kill Saturday at 14-13 in game five. Heine had six assist blocks and four kills in the Friday match. He has started 13 of the 14 matches he has played in this season and is the team leader in blocking at 1.32 per game with three solos and 59 assists. Heine is averaging 2.61 points and 1.85 kills per game.

VERSEN HAS HIS THIRD CAREER DOUBLE-DOUBLE SATURDAY AGAINST THE ANTEATERS

Brett Versen had 19 kills and 10 digs in the Saturday match at UC Irvine for his third career double-double. Last season he posted double-doubles against Ball State in Muncie (15 kills, 10 digs) and in Columbus (20 kills, 10 digs) in the MIVA Tournament. Versen added an assist, two ace serves and four assist blocks in the match. He had 10 kills, one dig and one assist block in Friday’s match. Versen has started all 15 matches this season and ranks second on the team in points at 4.36 per game and kills at 3.64 per game. He leads the team in ace serves with 18 and has a .33 per game average. Versen averages 1.38 digs and .71 blocks per game. Versen has had 12 matches with double-figure kills this season including the last four.

VERSEN NOW 19TH IN OSU CAREER ACES WITH 52

Brett Versen had two ace serves in the Saturday match at UC Irvine to raise his career total to 52. He has moved past Mark Peckham (2001-04) with 51. Versen needs five aces to move past Chris Fash (1998-01) and Craig Giebel (1990-93) who are tied for 17th with 56 each.

KLEIN LEADS THE BUCKEYES IN POINTS AND KILLS

Robbie Klein leads Ohio State in points and kills with 4.44 points and 3.89 kills per game, respectively. Last week at UC Irvine, he had a team-high 11 points Friday with 10 kills and two assist blocks. Klein added an assist, three digs, two assist blocks and handled 14 of 16 reception attempts. In Saturday’s match, he posted 21 points with 19 kills and four assist blocks. Klein added three digs and handled 35 of 38 reception attempts in the match. In starting all 15 matches this season, he is averaging 1.35 digs, .56 blocks and has a .962 reception percentage handling 332 of 345 attempts.

KLEIN MOVES TO 16TH IN OSU CAREER KILLS WITH 773

Robbie Klein, with 29 kills last week against UC Irvine, has moved to 16th on the Ohio State career kills list with 773. He moved up four spots from 20th, passing Gary Wrobel (1994-97) with 771, Rob Burton (1989-91) with 759, Jeff Koterba (1995-98) with 755 and Eduardo Marxuach (1995-97) with 745. Klein needs 15 kills to pass No. 15 Craig Geibel (1990-93) who has 787. In kills per game, Klein is ranked 17th with a 3.14 per game average.

KLEIN NOW 19TH IN OSU CAREER POINTS WITH 919.0

Robbie Klein had 32 points in the two matches at UC Irvine last week and has moved to 19th on the Ohio State career points list with 919.0. He moved past Jeff Koterba (1995-98) with 906.5. Klein has 773 kills, 81 ace serves, 13 solo blocks and 104 assist blocks. He needs four points to move past No. 18 Eduardo Marxuach (1995-97) with 922.5 points. In career points per game, Klein is ranked 16th with a 3.74 average.

TOBKIN HAS A CAREER-HIGH EIGHT ASSIST BLOCKS SATURDAY AT UC IRVINE

Jason Tobkin (So.-Fr., Fairfield, Ohio) recorded a career-high eight assist blocks in the Saturday match at UC Irvine in his sixth start of the season. His previous high was two in four matches this year. Tobkin tied his career high of 13 kills amd added three assists and three digs in the match while handling 25 of 26 reception attempts. In the Friday match he had a kill, two ace serves, three digs and handled 12 of 14 reception attempts. Tobkin has played in 14 matches this season and is averaging 2.30 points, 1.89 kills, 92 digs and .57 blocks per game. He has a .943 reception percentage handling 150 of 159 attempts.

SPURLOCK RANKS SECOND ON THE TEAM IN HITTING PERCENTAGE

Ben Spurlock has a .462 hitting percentage on the season to rank second on the squad. Last week he hit .444 (5-1-9) Friday against UC Irvine, adding an assist block in the match. Spurlock hit .429 (4-1-7) in the Saturday match, adding an ace serve and five assist blocks against the Anteaters. His ace serve was the game winner in game one Saturday. Spurlock has started all 15 matches this season and is averaging 2.45 points, 1.80 kills and 1.00 blocks per game.

KLANAC RANKS THIRD ON THE SQUAD IN RECEPTION PERCENTAGE

John Klanac, with a .955 reception percentage ranks third on the squad for the Buckeyes. He has handled 170 of 178 attempts. He handled nine of 13 attempts in the Friday match at UC Irvine, adding two kills, two digs and an assist block. Klanac had three attempts without an error in the Saturday match, adding one dig. For the season, he has played in all 15 matches, starting in nine. Klanac averages 2.28 points, 1.87 kills, 1.24 digs and .45 blocks per game.

MATHEWS CONTRIBUTES TO THE DEFENSE

Daniel Mathews runs the offense with a 12.13 assists per game average, but he plays a major role on the defensive side. He currently ranks second in digs at 1.43 per game and is third in blocking with a 1.13 per game average. Mathews posted 28 assists in the Friday match at UC Irvine. He added four digs, a solo block and five assist blocks against the Anteaters. In the Saturday match, Mathews had 50 assists, adding two kills, five digs and three assist blocks. He has started all 15 matches this season, averaging 1.25 points, .36 kills and .26 aces per game.

MATHEWS MOVES TO THIRD IN OSU CAREER ASSISTS PER GAME

Daniel Mathews had a combined 78 assists last week and now has 4,768 career assists and ranks third on the Ohio State career assists list. He has moved past Mark Peckham (2001-04) with 4,723. Ranking second on the career list is Adam Spitznagle (1993-96) with 6,528. In career assists per game, Mathews ranks sixth with a 12.85 average.

MATHEWS TIES FOR 11TH IN OSU CAREER SOLO BLOCKS

Daniel Mathews had a solo block Friday at UC Irvine to give him 42 in his career and move him into a tie for 11th with Steve Potter (1993-95). He needs seven solo blocks to move past No. 10 Tom Hoff (1992-93) with 48.

MATHEWS MOVES INTO A TIE FOR FIFTH IN OSU CAREER ASSIST BLOCKS WITH 326

Daniel Mathews has moved into a tie for fifth on the Ohio State career assist blocks list with 326. He recorded five assist blocks Friday and three Saturday in the matches at UC Irvine. Mathews has tied Gary Wrobel (1994-97). He moved past Layne Dreven (2004-07) with 321. Ranking fourth on the list is Scott Spurlock (2002-05) with 387.

MATHEWS NOW SEVENTH IN OSU CAREER TOTAL BLOCKS WITH 368

Daniel Mathews has moved to seventh on the Ohio State career total blocks list with 368. He has 42 solos and 326 assists. Mathews moved past David Frette (1989-91) with 364 (102-262). He needs 12 total blocks to move past No. 6 Adam Spitznagle (1993-96) with 379 (64-315). Mathews ranks 13th in Ohio State career blocks per game with a .99 average.

MARTIN LEADS THE TEAM IN DIGS PER GAME

Conor Martin has a team-high 2.56 digs per game average this season. He has a team-high 141 digs. He recorded six digs in the Friday match at UC Irvine, adding one assist and handled 28 of 29 reception attempts. In the Saturday match he recorded eight digs, adding two assists while handling 31 reception attempts without an error. In his 15 starts at libero this season, Martin has a .960 reception percentage handling 411 of 428 attempts. In career digs, he ranks third with 660 and is seventh in career digs per game at 1.97.

KUES DELIVERS KEY ACE SERVES SATURDAY AGAINST UC IRVINE

Brian Kues (So., Cincinnati, Ohio) saw limited action in two games of the Saturday match at UC Irvine, but produced big points in those games. Tied at 18 in game four, Kues’ serving produced points in three of his four serves, including an ace to put OSU ahead, 20-18. Trailing, 5-4, in the fifth game, he immediately recorded an ace serve to tie the game at five and continued to serve the Buckeyes to a 7-5 lead. His two aces in the match are his career high. Kues has seen action in 10 matches this season and has three ace serves and two digs on the season.

OHIO STATE IN THE NATIONAL STATISTICS

Ohio State has five players ranked in the March 3rd release of the NCAA Division I-II National Statistics Leaders. Kevin Heine is ranked fourth in hitting percentage at .470 with Ben Spurlock fifth at .462. In kills per game, Robbie Klein is 20th at 3.89. Tied for 14th in digs per game, Connor Martin has a 2.56 average. Daniel Mathews is ranked eighth in assists per game with a 12.13 average. As a team, Ohio State has the sixth-best hitting percentage in the country at .287.

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 19th at 1.43. Versen is third in the conference in aces per game at .57. Mathews ranks sixth at .48 with John Klanac tied for 16th at .22 and Klein 19th 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 and Versen is sixth at 3.65. Spurlock is OSU’s top percentage hitter at .425, ranking fifth. Heine ranks sixth at .424, Versen is 12th at .327 and Klein is 18th at .251. As a team, Ohio State ranks second in hitting percentage at .287, blocks at 3.07 per game, digs at 10.26 and is tied for second in aces at 1.78 per game. OSU ranks third in assists at 13.30 per game. The Buckeyes are fourth in kills per game at 14.52. Defensively, Ohio State is first in hitting percentage at .169, kills at 12.00 per game and assists at 11.39 per game. The Buckeyes rank second in aces at .87 per game, third in digs at 9.43 and fourth in blocks at 2.72 per game.

OHIO STATE RANKED 11TH IN THE CSTV/AVCA COACHES POLL

Ohio State is ranked 11th in the CSTV/AVCA Division I-II Men’s Top 15 Coaches released March 3. 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 Ball State 11th, Loyola-Chicago 12th, and IPFW 15th. Lewis received votes in the poll.

OHIO STATE RANKED NINTH IN THE VOLLEYBALL MAGAZINE POLL

Ohio State is ranked ninth in the Volleyball Magazine Men’s College Top 10 Poll released March 4. Ohio State began the 2008 season unranked in the Top 10, but had received votes. The Buckeyes have been as high as fifth in the poll. MIVA opponent Ball State is randed eighth. 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 Hanson is in his 24th season at Ohio State. He has a 466-261 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

Ohio State, 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 Ball State 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

Ohio State 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

Ohio State continues conference play next week with matches at Lewis and Loyola. The Buckeyes will face the Lewis Flyers Wednesday and the Loyola Ramblers Friday in 7 p.m. starts.

***OhioStateBuckeyes.com***