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Feb. 11, 2016

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 9 Ohio State University men’s volleyball team ventures to Illinois for crucial conference matches at two-time defending national champion No. 5 Loyola (Friday, Feb. 12) and No. 14 Lewis (Saturday, Feb. 13) in a weekend featuring the MIVA Preseason Poll’s top-3 schools. Both contests set for 7 p.m. CT/8 p.m. ET.

WEEKLY BASICS
Friday, Feb. 12- 7 p.m. CT/8 p.m. ET – Chicago, Ill. (Gentile Arena)
#9 Ohio State (8-3, 3-1 MIVA) at #5 Loyola (7-2, 2-0 MIVA)
Live Stats
Television: Comcast SportsNet Chicago and ESPN3/WatchESPN

Saturday, Feb. 13 – 7 p.m. CT/8 p.m. ET – Romeoville, Ill. (Neil Carey Arena)
#9 Ohio State at #14 Lewis (8-4, 3-1 MIVA)
Live Stats
Video Stream: Flyer All-Access on LewisFlyers.com (free)

Complete Match Notes 

HISTORY WITH THE RAMBLERS AND FLYERS
Ohio State began competing against both Loyola and Lewis in the mid-90s, logging 98 total matches vs. the pair of Illinois foes since. The Buckeyes own an all-time advantage of 31-19 over the Ramblers and 28-20 over the Flyers. The Windy City has not treated OSU well, however, as the Buckeyes have gone 9-13 when playing at Loyola. Ohio State is 11-10 in road affairs at Lewis.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
Ohio State entered the week as the nation’s top attacking squad, hitting a team percentage of .359 in NCAA matches (McMaster match not recognized by NCAA). That swinging rate ranks first in the entire country. The Buckeyes are also averaging 1.91 aces per set; good for third-best.

Individually, Nicolas Szerszen is slotted top-20 in several different categories: 5.06 points/set (5th), 4.38 kills/set (7th), .406 attacking efficiency (8th) and .47 aces/set (16th). Christy Blough’s 10.54 assists per set come in eighth on the national stage while Christian Franceschi’s .55 aces/set and Miles Johnson’s .45 aces/set rate are 11th and 18th, respectively.

FRANCESCHI SERVES HIS WAY INTO THE RECORD BOOKS
Christian Franceschi etched his name into the all-time Ohio State record books. Last Saturday, ee opened with four service aces in the first set alone and continued his assault by gashing Ball State for three more aces by the end of the night. The seven total aces are tied for second most in school history, matching Pieter Olree’s total at Pacific back in 2001 (top mark is eight aces by Jason Tobkin vs. Princeton in 2011).

BUCKEYES ON A ROLL
Ohio State strung together six straight sweeps, seizing 18 consecutive set victories, during a three-week stretch earlier this season. The Buckeyes outscored the half dozen opponents by a combined 126 points, averaging a scoring margin of 20-plus points per triumph, from Jan. 8-22.

SZERSZEN HAULS IN YET ANOTHER MIVA AWARD
Nicolas Szerszen 3, everyone else 2. That’s the 2016 tally for Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Offensive Player of the Week awards following Szerszen’s third such recognition in the first five weeks of the season. The OSU Buckeye sophomore gathered five MIVA weekly accolades just one month into his second collegiate campaign — also doing so twice as a freshman.

SZERSZEN’S MIVA PLAYER OF THE WEEK HISTORY
Offensive — Feb. 2, Jan. 19, Jan. 12, 2016; March 10, 2015
Defensive — Feb. 17, 2015

NEXT MAN UP
A slew of absences to early season starters did little to derail the Buckeyes. True freshman setter Sanil Thomas stepped in admirably for an injured Christy Blough, divvying up nearly 10 assists per set in starting a pair of OSU victories over Erskine and Coker. Matt Dorn has earned the starting nod seven times since All-American Driss Guessous went down. Dorn threw up nine blocks against Coker (Jan. 22) and is attacking .489 overall this season. Illness struck Miles Johnson versus the Cobras, making way for Matt Pohlman to fill an expanded role. Pohlman mirrored Johnson’s lethal serving weapon, ripping five aces (tied for the sixth most in school history) in the team sweep.

MOMENTS WITH MITCH
Former Buckeye opposite hitter Mitch Beal is teaming up with OhioStateBuckeyes.com this season, interviewing members of the program each week to discuss the latest happenings around OSU Men’s Volleyball. Check out the weekly video series at OhioStateBuckeyes.com and posted via the program’s social media channels.

VIDEO: 'Moments with Mitch – Jan. 11' … special guests this week include Nick Laffin and Gabriel Domecus —> https://t.co/ul9frzDwjQ

— OSU Men's Volleyball (@OhioState_MVB) February 11, 2016

PFEIFFER MATCH RESCHEDULED
Ohio State’s home match vs. Pfeiffer University, originally-scheduled for January 23, has been rescheduled for Friday, February 6 at 7 p.m. The non-conference tilt was moved due to travel concerns associated with Winter Storm Jonas.

Pete Hanson INDUCTED INTO AVCA HALL OF FAME
Pete Hanson was inducted into the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame on Dec. 17 at the national convention in Omaha, Neb. He becomes one of just 70 members all-time to become enshrined in the AVCA Hall of Fame which recognizes `individuals who have reached the pinnacle of their profession and the sport.’