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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The ninth-ranked Ohio State (16-7 overall, 9-1 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, co-first place) men’s volleyball team hosts No. 8 Ball State (18-8, 9-1, co-first place) Thursday and Mercyhurst (5-18, 1-10, 6th place) Saturday in 7 p.m. matches in St. John Arena to close out the regular season. Ohio State seniors will be honored prior to the match Saturday. Both the Ball State and Mercyhurst home matches will be available on Buckeye Vision as a web broadcast for a fee. Broadcast information is available at http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/LiveEvents.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=17300

BUCKEYES PLAYING FOR FIRST PLACE IN THE MIVA

Ohio State closes out the regular season with a chance to capture the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Championship this week. OSU and Ball State enter the match tied for first place with 9-1 conference records. OSU closes out the regular season by hosting Mercyhurst (1-10, 6th) Saturday while Ball State plays at Lewis (6-4, 4th). Two Ohio State victories this week will clinch OSU’s 20th league title.

A LOOK AT OHIO STATE

The ninth-ranked Buckeyes are coached by Pete Hanson. Ohio State is 16-7 overall and has an 9-1 record in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Last week the Buckeyes won 3-0 home matches against No. 12 George Mason (30-21, 30-21, 30-27) and Rutgers-Newark (30-27, 30-20, 30-28). This past Tuesday, Ohio State won, 3-2 (27-30, 30-26, 30-26, 22-30, 15-13) at IPFW. Leading the Buckeyes in points per game is Robbie Klein (Sr.-Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio) with a 4.55 average. Brett Versen ranks second with a 4.44 average. Klein leads the team with a 3.87 kills per game average with Versen averaging 3.70. Kevin Heine (So.-Fr., St. Louis, Mo.) is the top percentage hitter on the squad at .478. Ted Schoenfeldt (So., Northbrook, Ill.) ranks second at .463 with Ben Spurlock (Sr.-So., Stow, Ohio) third at .434. Setter Daniel Mathews (Sr., Shorewood, Wis.) is averaging 12.10 assists per game for Ohio State. Klein has a team-high 24 ace serves and a .28 per game average. Versen ranks second with 23 (.28) and Mathews is third with 20 (.25). Defensively, Conor Martin (Sr., Avon Lake, Ohio) leads the team with a 2.37 digs per game average. Mathews ranks second at 1.67 with Klein third at 1.46. Martin has a team-high .958 reception percentage handling 619 of 646 attempts. Jason Tobkin (So.-Fr., Fairfield, Ohio) ranks second a .954 handling 350 of 3367 attempts. At the net, Heine leads the team with a 1.27 blocks per game average with three solos and 67 assist blocks. Mathews ranks second at 1.14 with 12 solos and 80 assist blocks and Spurlock is third at 1.12 with eight solos and 85 assist blocks. As a team, Ohio State is averaging 19.11 points, 14.56 kills and 13.51 assists per game while hitting .281. The Buckeyes average 1.42 aces, 9.49 digs and 3.12 blocks per game. OSU opponents average 17.36 points, 13.44 kills and 12.79 assists per game while hitting .229. Buckeye opponents average 1.20 aces, 9.16 digs and 2.73 blocks per game.

A LOOK AT BALL STATE

The eighth-ranked Cardinals are coached by Joel Walton. Ball State has a 18-8 overall record and is 9-1 in the MIVA. Last week, the Cardinals defeated Rutgers-Newark, 3-1 (30-28, 30-16, 40-42, 30-28) and lost to No. 12 George Mason, 3-1 (33-31, 30-26, 26-30, 30-26) in home matches. Leading Ball State in points per game is Patrick Durbin at 4.81. Marcus Imwalle ranks second at 3.63. Durbin leads the team in kills per game with a 4.33 average. Imwalle is second at 3.08. Matt McCarthy has a team-high hitting percentage of .432. J.D. Gasparovic is second at .338. At setter, Ethan Pheister has an 12.09 assists per game average. Imwalle leads the team in ace serves with 22 and has a .28 aces per game average. McCarthy (.16 per game) and Todd Chamberlain (.18) are tied for second with 14 each. Defensively, Ian Peckler has a team-high 2.90 digs per game average. Durbin ranks second at 1.64. In reception percentage, Pecker leads the team at .967 handling 587 of 607 attempts. Durbin ranks second at .951, handling 585 of 615 attempts. At the net, Gasparovic has a team-high 1.38 blocks per game average with 14 solos and 91 assists. McCarthy is second at 1.22 with 18 solos and 91 assists. Ball State is averaging 18.82 points, 14.73 kills and 13.71 assists per game while hitting .253. The Cardinals average .96 aces, 10.48 digs and 3.14 blocks per game. Opponents average 18.88 points, 14.71 kills and 13.62 assists per game while hitting .213. Ball State opponents average 1.14 aces, 9.55 digs and 3.03 blocks per game.

BALL STATE-OHIO STATE SERIES HISTORY

Ohio State leads the series with Ball State, 78-76. The Buckeyes are 40-31 in Columbus while Ball State is 13-12 in neutral-site matches. The Cardinals have a 31-26 advantage in matches played at Ball State. Earlier this season, at Ball State, the Cardinals won, 3-1 (26-30, 30-28, 32-30, 31-29). Last season, Ohio State won two of the three matches the squads played. In the regular-season matches, the Buckeyes won, 3-1 (30-21, 28-30, 30-26, 30-23) in Columbus and lost, 1-3 (30-20, 29-31, 18-30, 27-30) in Muncie. OSU won, 3-1 (30-26, 30-25, 25-30, 31-29) in the MIVA Tournament semifinals hosted by Ohio State.

A LOOK AT MERCYHURST

The Lakers are coached by Ryan Patton. Mercyhurst has a 5-18 overall record and is 1-10 in the MIVA. Last week, the Lakers lost, 3-1 (30-22, 29-31, 30-23, 30-26) at home and 3-0 (30-16, 30-21, 30-24) at IPFW. The team leader in points per game for Mercyhurst is Dave Newman at 3.90. Tim Wagner ranks second at 3.37. Newman has a team-high 3.02 kills per game average with Wagner second at 2.84. Leading the team in hitting percentage at .430 is Newman with Jonathan Gurr second at .192. At setter, David Hatten has a 9.93 assists per game average. Wagner has a team-high 19 ace serves and a .23 per game average. Gurr and Jeff Hartman are tied for second with 11 each and a .15 per game average. Defensively, Jordan Pierson leads the team in digs per game with a 1.57 average. Ranking second is Hatten at 1.52.Gurr has a team-high .925 reception percentage handling 397 of 429 attempts. Hartman is second at .924 handling 388 of 420 attempts. At the net, Newman is averaging 1.34 blocks per game with 17 solos and 93 attempts. At 1.06 per game, Hatten ranks second with 16 solos and 70 assists. As a team, Mercyhurst is averaging 16.22 points, 12.70 kills and 11.67 assists while hitting .224. The Lakers average .88 aces, 7.98 digs and 2.64 blocks per game. Laker opponents average 19.48 points, 15.17 kills and 13.82 assists per game while hitting .292. Mercyhurst opponents average 1.93 aces, 8.47 digs and 2.39 blocks per game.

MERCYHURST – OHIO STATE SERIES HISTORY

Ohio State has won all 24 matches with Mercyhurst. The Buckeyes are 12-0 in matches played at Columbus and 12-0 at Mercyhurst. Earlier this season, at Mercyhurst, the Buckeyes won, 3-1 (28-30, 30-24, 30-23, 30-20). 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.

#1 STEVEN KEHOE, 2, 6-3, So.-Fr., Cincinnati, Ohio

*played in 21 matches, 1.89 assists, .45 digs per game
*at IPFW-no statistics
*at Ball State-did not play

#2 KEVIN HEINE, MH, 6-5, So.-Fr., St. Louis, Mo.

*played in 17 matches with 15 starts, 2.74 points, 1.96 kills, .478, .11 aces, .18 digs, 1.27 blocks per game, hitting .478
*at IPFW-did not play
*at Ball State-8.5 points, 6 kills, hit .231, 5 assist blocks, 1 assist

#4 DANIEL MATHEWS, S, 6-5, Sr., Shorewood, Wis.

*started all 23 matches, 12.10 assists, 1.33 points, .44 kills, .25 aces, 1.67 digs, 1.14 blocks per game, hitting .225
*at IPFW-65 assists, 5 points, 2 kills, hit .400, 12 digs
*at Ball State-47 assists, 7.5 points, 1 kill, 4 ace serves, 7 digs 4 blocks (1-3)
*season-high 12 digs at IPFW, previous high was 11 at Mercyhurst
*ranks 3rd in career assists with 5,105
*ranks 6th in career assist per game at 12.79
*ranks 3rd in career aces with 106
*ranks 6th in career aces per game at .27
*ranks 10th in career digs with 558-his season-high 12 digs at IPFW moved him past Angel Aja (1997-00) with 557
*ranks tied for 10th in career solo blocks with 48-his one solo block at IPFW moved him into a tie for 10th with Tom Hoff (1992-93)
*ranks 5th in career assist blocks with 352
*ranks 5th in career total blocks with 400 (48 solos, 352 assists)
*ranks 13th in career blocks per game at 1.00
*MIVA Player of the Week vs. Mercyhurst

#5 JOHN ALBERTSON, MH, 6-5, Sr.-Jr., Ballwin, Mo.

*started 2 matches, 4.07 points, 3.00 kill, .29 digs, 1.86 blocks per game, hitting .667
*at IPFW-did not play
*at Ball State-did not play
*played against IFPW and Penn State in January-has not played since
*ranked 13th in career assist blocks with 256
*ranked 14th in career total blocks with 276 (20 solos, 256 assists)
*ranked 5th in career blocks per game at 1.39

#6 BRETT VERSEN, OH, 6-7, 5th-Sr., Centerville, Ohio

*started att 23 matches, 4.44 points, 3.70 kills, .28 aces, 1.35 digs, .79 blocks per game, hitting .281
*at IPFW-21 points, 19 kills, hit .389, 5 digs, 4 assist blocks, 5 assists
*at Ball State-11.5 points, 8 kills, hit .071, 8 digs, 6 blocks (1-5)
*season-high 5 assists at IPFW, previous high was three in two matches
*ranks 17th in career aces with 57
*ranks 8th in career aces per game at .25
*ranks 19th in career points per game at 3.25
*MIVA Player of the Week against Lewis and Loyola-Chicago
*MIVA Player of the Week against Penn State and St. Francis

#7 BEN SPURLOCK, MH, 6-7, Sr.-So., Stow, Ohio

*played in 23 matches, starting 22, 2.63 points, 1.89 kills, .13 aces, .35 digs, 1.12 blocks per game, hitting .434
*at IPFW-17 points, 12 kills, hit .611, 1 ace serve, 3 digs, 7 blocks (1-6)
*at Ball State-8 points, 7 kills, hit .235, 1 dig, 2 assist blocks
*equaled his career-high of 12 kills at IPFW for the third time
*career-high 17 points at IPFW, previous high was 16.5 against IPFW

#8 JOHN KLANAC, OH, 6-5, So.-Fr., Orchard Park, N.Y.

*played in 16 matches, starting nine, 2.41 points, 1.98 kills, .22 aces, 1.20 digs, .44 blocks per game, hitting .132
*at IPFW-did not play
*at Ball State-5.5 points, 5 kills, hit .364, 3 digs, 1 assist block

#9 JOHN LUHRSEN, OH, 6-3, So.-Fr., Wheaton, Ill.

*played in 13 matches, .05 points, .05 kills, .21 digs per game
*at IPFW-did not play
*at Ball State-no statistics

#10 BRIAN KUES, OH, 6-1, So., Cincinnati, Ohio

*played in 18 matches, .09 points, .09 aces, .58 digs per game
*at IPFW-14 digs, 1 assist
*at Ball State-did not play
*career-high 14 digs at IPFW, previous high was four against Quincy in 2007

#11 TED SCHOENFELDT, MH, 6-4, So., Northbrook, Ill.

*played in 16 matches, starting seven, 2.19 points, 1.56 kills, .16 aces, .84 digs, .86 blocks per game, hitting .463
*at IPFW-14.5 points, 12 kills, hit .632, 8 digs, 4 blocks (1-3)
*at Ball State-4.5 points, 2 ace serves, 1 dig, 5 assist blocks
*career-high .632 hitting percentage at IPFW, previous high was .625 at Penn State
*equaled his career-high of 14.5 points at IPFW, set against Rutgers-Newark

#12 JASON TOBKIN, OH, 6-7, So.-Fr., Fairfield, Ohio

*played in 22 matches, starting 14, 2.55 points, 2.06 kills, .21 aces, 1.12 digs, .53 blocks per game, hitting .158
*at IPFW-17.5 points, 16 kills, hit .184, 6 digs, 1 assist block, 1 ace serve
*at Ball State-9 points, 8 kills, hit .130, 5 digs, 2 assist blocks, 1 assist
*career-high 15 kills at IPFW, previous high was 13 in two matches
*career-high 17.5 points at IPFW, previous high was 17 at UC Irvine, March 1

#13 ROBBIE KLEIN, OH, 6-3, Sr.-Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio

*started all 23 matches, 4.55 points, 3.87 kills, .28 aces, 1.46 digs, .67 blocks per game, hitting .240
*at IPFW-20 points, 19 kills, hit .237, 8 digs, 1 ace serve, 2 assists
*at Ball State-21.5 points, 18 kills, hit .256, 1 ace serve, 5 digs, 4 blocks (1-3)
*ranks 13th in career kills with 888
*ranks 17th in career kills per game at 3.22
*ranks 11th in career attack attempts with 1,939
*ranks 22nd in career attack percentage at .251
*ranks 4th in career aces with 93
*ranks 1st in career aces per game at .34
*ranks 13 in career points with 1,061.5-his 20 points at IPFW moved him past Jose Rivera (1996-00) with 1,058.5
*ranks 14th in career points per game at 3.84
*MIVA Player of the Week against Loyola-Chicago and Lewis

#15 CONOR MARTIN, L, 6-1, Sr., Avon Lake, Ohio

*started at libero in all 23 matches, 2.37 digs per game
*at IPFW-1 dig (played 1 game)
*at Ball State-11 digs
*ranks 3rd in career digs with 711
*ranks 7th in career digs per game at 1.97

#17 SEAN MARTIN, L, 5-10, So.-Fr., Lakewood, Ohio

*played in 18 matches, .03 points, .27 assists, .03 aces, .20 digs per game
*at IPFW-no statistics
*at Ball State-1 dig

OHIO STATE IN THE NATIONAL STATISTICS

Ohio State had four players ranked in the April 7 release of the NCAA Division I-II National Statistics Leaders. Kevin Heine is ranked fourth in hitting percentage at .478 with Ben Spurlock 12th at .422. Heine is 13th in blocking at 1.27 per game. Connor Martin has a 2.39 digs per game average and is 16th. Daniel Mathews is ranked 10th in assists per game with an 12.04 average. Robbie Klein ranks 20th in points per game at 4.58.

OHIO STATE IN THE MIVA STATISTICS

The Buckeyes are well represented in the conference-only statistics of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association as of April 5. Conor Martin ranks third in digs per game at 2.79 with Daniel Mathews ranked eighth at 1.68 and Robbie Klein, 20th at 1.41. Brett Versen is fourth in the conference in aces per game at .47. Mathews is fifth at .44 with John Klanac tied for 11th at .29. Kevin Heine ranks 18th at .24 and Klein is 20th at .21. In blocks per game, Ben Spurlock ranks third in the league at 1.30 with Mathews seventh at 1.15. Heine is 11th at 1.00 and Versen is tied for 17th at .78. Mathews is fourth in the league in assists per game at 11.74. Versen ranks fifth in points per game at 4.55 with Klein sixth at 4.38. In kills per game, Klein ranks fourth at 3.82 with Versen seventh at 3.62. Heine is OSU’s top percentage hitter at .434, ranking third. Spurlock ranks fifth at .430, Versen is 17th at .260 and Klein is 19th at .245. As a team, Ohio State ranks second in blocks at 3.31 and aces at 1.94 and is third digs at 10.09 per game. The Buckeyes rank fourth in hitting percentage at .274 and in assists at 13.15. OSU ranks third in kills at 14.47 per game. Defensively, Ohio State is first in hitting percentage at .175, kills at 12.26 per game and assists at 11.68 per game. The Buckeyes rank second in aces at .91 per game, fifth in digs at 9.32 and sixth in blocks at 2.78 per game.

OHIO STATE RANKED NINTH IN THE CBS COLLEGE SPORTS NETWORK/AVCA COACHES POLL

Ohio State is ranked ninth in the CBS College Sports Network/AVCA Division I-II Men’s Top 15 Coaches Poll released April 7. OSU had been ranked 10th in the poll for the last three weeks. 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 eighth and Lewis 15th. IPFW is listed as receiving votes.

OHIO STATE RANKED NINTH IN THE MOLTEN/VOLLEYBALL MAGAZINE POLL

Ohio State is ranked ninth in the Molten Volleyball Magazine Men’s College Top 10 Poll released April 8. 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 ranked tied for sixth. 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.

MATHEWS NAMED THE MIVA PLAYER OF THE WEEK – March 11

Daniel Mathews was named the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Player of the Week for his play last week. He recorded his second double-double of the season and eighth of his career with 43 assists and a season-high 11 digs in the 3-1 (28-30, 30-24, 30-23, 30-20) win at Mercyhurst. Mathews added four total blocks (one solo and three assists), two ace serves and a kill in the match. His previous dig high this season was nine in two matches.

KLEIN NAMED THE MIVA PLAYER OF THE WEEK – March 25

Robbie Klein was named the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Player of the Week for his play against Loyola-Chicago and No. 15 Lewis. Klein had a match-high 20.5 points in the 3-1 (28-30, 30-28, 30-28, 30-26) win at Loyola-Chicago with 17 kills, an ace serve and five assist blocks. He hit .238 adding an assist and seven digs. With the match tied at 1-1 in games and the score tied at 27, a Klein kill gave OSU its first lead of the game at 28-27. The Ramblers tied the game at 28 but back-to-back kills from Klein gave the Buckeyes a 30-28 game three victory. In the 3-0 (30-27, 30-23, 30-22) win at No. 15 Lewis, Klein had 11.5 points with 10 kills, one ace serve and an assist block. He hit .231 for the match, adding an assist and five digs. For the two matches, Klein averaged 4.57 points, 3.86 kills, 1.71 digs and .86 blocks per game. He handled 43 of 46 reception attempts (.935).

VERSEN NAMED MIVA PLAYER OF THE WEEK – March 31

Brett Versen was named the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Player of the Week for his play against top-ranked Penn State and St. Francis. Versen had back-to-back matches with 20 or more points last week. In the 3-1 loss at Penn State, he had a team-high 20 points recording 15 kills, three ace serves, a solo block and two assist blocks. He added four digs while hitting .375. Versen had 23 points in the 3-1 win at St. Francis. He had a co-match-high 21 kills adding four assist blocks and eight digs while hitting .289. For the two matches, Versen averaged 5.38 points, 4.50 kills, 1.50 digs, .88 blocks and .38 aces per game while hitting .325. This is the second time this season Versen has been named the player of the week.

HEAD COACH PETE HANSON

Pete Hanson is in his 24th season at Ohio State. He has a 473-262 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

The Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament begins next week with three quarterfinal matches. Based on their final regular season conference finish, #5 plays at #4, #6 plays at #3, #7 plays at #2 and the #1 seed receives a bye in matches played April 18-19. The #1 seed will host the semifinals April 24 with #1 playing the #4/#5 winning and the #3/#6 winner playing the #2/#7 winner. The semifinal winners play April 26 with the winner advancing to the NCAA National Semifinals, May 1 at Cal Irvine.

***OhioStateBuckeyes.com***