COLUMBUS, Ohio – The fourth-seeded Ohio State (20-7 overall) men’s volleyball team arrived in Irvine, Calif. Tuesday for the NCAA Championship after an early morning flight into Orange County. The Buckeyes did not practice but reviewed video in preparation for their Thursday semifinal match against top-seeded PennState (21-8) at 9 p.m. ET. No. 2 Pepperdine (16-10) and No. 3 Long Beach State (23-7) play in the second semifinal at 11 p.m. ET. Both semifinals will be carried live by ESPN2.
Wednesday began with an early morning press conference for the Buckeyes with Head Coach Pete Hanson, Daniel Mathews (Sr., Shorewood, Wis.) and Brett Versen (5th-Sr., Centerville, Ohio) in attendance. A session with the ESPN2 followed for the starters to prepare introductions and personality sports for the broadcast. OhioState then took the court for an 85 minute practice. Tonight the team will attend the NCAA Banquet which includes the presentation of the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America Awards. Buckeye setter Mathews will be honored as a first-team selection for the second consecutive year.
2008 NCAA Men’s Volleyball Tournament
Bren CenterIrvine, Calif.
May 1 & 3
Day One Quotes OhioState
Head Coach – Peter Hanson:
“First of all, we’re very pleased to be here. We had a very nice weekend back in Columbus to get through the MIVA Championship. PennState is a team that we’re somewhat familiar with, and we’re looking forward to playing on them”
On how to beat PennState: “We plan to really focus on their players, particularly those two middle blockers, and Matt Anderson who is a great player. And we can’t forget about Sweitzer, who’s an excellent opposite. Our plan is to slow down the first three guys that I talked about, and do things well on our side of the net.”
On playing PennState previously: “I think that we clearly had a chance at our place, had a swing to win a game but made an error. At their place, it was a streaky match. They came out of the gate strong, but once we got our feet under us, we played well in the second game. After the long break between games two and three, they came back, got the momentum back and played well. I think what we learned from that was that we need to extend the way we played in that second game for a longer period of time.”
On winning their last eight: “I think the biggest thing is from mid-March on, we’ve put the same six to seven guys on the court every night. We’ve really fallen into a rhythm. You know the same guys are going to play and play at a high level, and that gives you confidence.”
On how to beat PennState: “We’re got to serve tough, and take them out of what their doing. We also can’t let them get into a groove, move through those three guys [Lipsitz, Holt, Anderson], like coach said.”
On taking a game against PennState: “We try to go in every match with the same amount of confidence, whether last time we won 3-0 or lost in 3. I think that once you’ve won one game against someone, then you can win two, and from there, anything can happen.”
On playing in the Final Four previously: “Every season, you have the same goal; making the Final Four and trying to win it. When we went before it gave us a taste of volleyball at the highest level, so to end my career here is not only a great honor, but also a great opportunity.”