COLUMBUS, Ohio – The ninth-ranked Ohio State (18-7 overall, 11-1 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) men’s volleyball team won a 3-0 (30-18, 30-24, 30-24) victory over Mercyhurst (5-19, 1-11) to secure the outright MIVA Championship Saturday night in St. John Arena. It is OSU’s 20th conference title. Buckeye Brett Versen (5th-Sr., Centerville, Ohio) scored a match-high 18.5 points for Ohio State with 14 kills, one ace serve, one solo block and five assist blocks. Lakers Ron Cierniakoski and Dave Newman shared team-high honors with seven points each. Cierniakoski had four kills, one ace serve, one solo block and two assist blocks while Newman posted five kills, a solo block and two assist blocks.
With game one tied at eight, three Laker errors and a Jason Tobkin (So.-Fr., Fairfield, Ohio) kill gave the Buckeyes a 12-8 lead. With the Buckeyes leading, 27-17, a Laker error and a Ben Spurlock (Sr.-So., Stow, Ohio)-Versen block set game point at 29-17. An OSU error stopped the game point at 29-18. Ohio State won the game, 30-18, off a Mercyhurst error. The Buckeyes hit .448 for the game to .040 for the Lakers.
A Dave Newman kill opened game two for a 1-0 Mercyhurst lead. Two Laker errors and a Daniel Mathews (Sr., Shorewood, Wis.) solo block put Ohio State ahead, 3-1. Mercyhurst trailed 15-14, before a five-point Buckeye run opened a 20-14 lead. The run began with a Robbie Klein (Sr.-Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio) kill and two Laker errors. An ace serve by Mathews and a Klein-Ted Schoenfeldt (So., Northbrook, Ill.) block gave Ohio State a six-point lead. Ohio State held a 28-20 lead before the Lakers scored the next four points. The run began with a Newman kill and a Jeff Hartman ace serve. An OSU error and a Bryan Ritter kill made it 28-24. A Klein kill set game point at 29-24. The Buckeyes closed out the game with a Tobkin kill to win the game, 30-24. Ohio State hit .250 for the game, holding Mercyhurst to -.029.
Ohio State opened game three with a Versen kill, a Schoenfeldt solo block, a Spurlock ace serve and a Laker error for a 4-0 lead. Two OSU errors and a Schoenfeldt kill made it 5-2. Cierniakoski, with an ace serve, and a Newman-Tim Wagner block cut the lead to 5-4. At 9-8, a Laker block by David Hatten and Cierniakoski tied the game at nine. Three Mercyhurst errors gave Ohio State a 12-9 lead. At 13-10, a Wagner kill cut the lead to two. Buckeye kills from Schoenfeldt and Versen and a Steven Kehoe (So.-Fr., Cincinnati, Ohio) ace serve gave Ohio State a 16-11 lead. Leading 27-24, kills from John Albertson (Sr.-Jr., Ballwin, Mo.) and John Klanac (So.-Fr., Orchard Park, N.Y.) set match point at 29-24. A Klanac kill ended the game at 30-24 to give Ohio State a 3-0 victory in the match. The Buckeyes hit .258 for the game to .103 for Mercyhurst.
For the match, Ohio State hit .315 to .034 for Mercyhurst. The Buckeyes had a 48-27 advantage in kills and a six-to-three margin in ace serves. OSU’s Klein recorded a match-high two aces in the match. The Buckeyes gave up 16 service errors to 11 for Mercyhurst. Defensively, Ohio State had a 25-21 edge in digs with Buckeye Conor Martin (Sr., Avon Lake, Ohio) recording a match-high eight. At the net, Ohio State had a 12-6 margin in team blocks. Schoenfeldt recorded a match-high seven total blocks with a solo and six assists. At setter, Mathews recorded a match-high 27 assists with Kehoe adding 13. Hatten post 25 assists for the Lakers.
Ohio State has the No. 1 seed in the upcoming MIVA Tournament, earning a bye in the quarterfinals. The Buckeyes, who will host the tournament semifinals and championship match, will play a semifinal match, at 7:30, Thursday, April 24 in St. John Arena. The first semifinal is at 5 p.m. The semifinal winners play at 7 p.m., Saturday April 26.