Columbus, Ohio – The 10th-ranked Ohio State (2-2) men’s volleyball completed a two-match home stand with a 3-1 (29-27, 25-21, 20-25, 25-17) win over George Mason (3-1) Tuesday night in St. John Arena. Buckeye Shawn Sangrey recorded a match-high 19.5 points with 16 kills (.237), two ace serves and three assist blocks. Kevin Heine produced a career-high 18.5 points with 15 kills (.391), two solo and three assist blocks. Mik Berzins added a career-high 17.5 points with 15 kills (.400), two ace serves and one assist block. Patriot Mark Jones had a team-high 19 points with 18 kills (.227) and two assist blocks. Shaun Sibley added 13 points with 11 kills (.625) and four assist blocks for George Mason. The match is scheduled to be rebroadcast on the Big Ten Network at 4 p.m. this Thursday.
With Ohio State leading set one, 7-6, a Heine kill, a Berzins ace serve and a Heine-John Klanac block opened a 10-6 Buckeye lead. George Mason trailed 22-19 when a kill from Mark Jones and a Piotr Dabrowski solo block cut the OSU lead to one at 22-21. Kills from Berzins and Dabrowski made it 23-22. The Patriots tied the set at 23 with a Joe Norton kill. Ohio State reached set point at 24-23 with a kill from Berzins. An OSU error tied the set at 24. A Brandon Joyner-Sibley block gave George Mason a 25-24 lead and set point. A Sangrey kill tied the set at 25. The Patriots earned a second set point at 26-25 with a kill from Sibley. Sangrey, with a kill, tied the set at 26. GMU, with a kill from Jones took a 27-26 lead for a third set point. Sangrey responded again with a kill to tie the set at 27. A Patriot error made it 28-27 Buckeyes serving a second set point. Ohio State won the set, 29-27 with a solo block from Steven Kehoe to lead the match, 1-0. George Mason hit .429 for the set to .395 for Ohio State.
Tied at 11 in set two, two kills from Sibley, one from Joyner and an OSU error gave George Mason a 15-11 lead. Trailing, 17-13, OSU scored four consecutive points with kills from Heine and Berzins, a Kehoe ace serve and a Berzins-Heine-Sangrey block to tie the set at 17. At 20-all, two Patriot errors and kills from Sangrey and Klanac made it set point for the Buckeyes at 24-20. A Jones kill stopped the point at 24-21. Ohio State, with a Grayson Overman kill won the set, 25-21, to take a 2-0 lead in the match. The Buckeyes hit .355 for the set to .276 for George Mason.
Ohio State broke a 2-2 tie in set three with kills from Sangrey, Berzins and Overman to take a 5-2 lead. Trailing, 7-5, a Dabrowski-Jones-Eric Lucas block, an OSU error and a Lucas kill gave George Mason an 8-7 lead. A Patriot error tied the set at eight. At nine-all, an OSU error and a Sibley-Joyner block made it 11-9 Patriots. OSU tied the set at 11 with kills from Klanac and Sangrey. At 13-all, kills from Dabrowski and Lucas made it 15-13. An Overman kill cut the margin to 15-14, but a kill from Dabrowski and a Patrick Maloney-Dabrowski block gave George Mason a 17-14 lead. OSU closed to within one at 18-17 but kills from Maloney and Jones and a Maloney-Sibley block opened a 21-17 Patriot lead. George Mason reached set point at 24-19 with a kill from Jones. A Berzins kill stopped the point at 24-20. The Patriots won the set, 25-20, with a Joyner kill to cut the OSU lead to 2-1. George Mason hit .500 for the set to .222 for OSU.
From a one-all tie in set four, a kill from Berzins and two Patriot errors gave Ohio State a 4-1 lead. A Sibley kill made it 4-2. A Heine kill and his solo block made the lead, 6-2. A Lucas kill and an OSU error made it 6-4. Kills from Sangrey and Berzins made it 8-4. Dabrowski, with a kill made it 8-5. OSU scored the next four points with an Overman kill, two Sangrey ace serves and a Patriot error to lead 12-5. Three OSU errors and a kill from Jones cut the margin to 12-9. At 14-11, a kill from Heine and a Kehoe ace serve opened a 16-11 lead. Leading, 19-14, a kill from Berzins opened a six-point lead at 20-14. At 22-16, an OSU error cut the margin to five at 22-17. A kill from Berzins made it 23-17. The Buckeyes reached match point on a Heine solo block at 24-17. A Patriot error ended the set at 25-17 OSU to give the Buckeyes a 3-1 match victory. Ohio State hit .393 for the set to .037 for George Mason.
Ohio State hit .347 for the match to .313 for George Mason. The Buckeyes had a 64-54 margin in kills and a 62-51 advantage in assists. OSU’s Kehoe posted a match-high 60 assists while GMU’s Joyner recorded 41. The Buckeyes recorded seven ace serves with Kehoe recording a match-high three. The Patriots did not record an ace serve and gave up eight service errors to 13 for OSU. Defensively, the Buckeyes had a 39-27 advantage in digs with OSU’s Sangrey and Anthony Hock sharing match-high honors with 10 each. GMU’s Joyner and Maloney each recorded a team-high six. At the net, the Patriots had a 9.5 to 7.5 edge in team blocks. OSU’s Heine, with two solo and three assist blocks, and GMU’s Dabrowski, with a solo and four assist blocks, shared match-high honors with five total blocks each.
Ohio State begins play in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association with a 7 p.m. Friday match at IPFW (3-1).
Pete Hanson, Ohio State head coach
On tonight’s overall play
“I thought both teams played very good volleyball for this early in the season. (George) Mason is a very good defensive team – they dig a lot of balls and they extend rallies. They keep their offense coming back at you and you have to be good and you have to have some patience to make some plays. I though at times we got a little impatient with our offense and tried to do too much. I think once we kind of settled down, we were better from the end line with our serve and put some pressure on them.”
On changes made in the fourth set
“We rolled three rotations so we tried to change the match-ups and give our blockers somebody different and give our attackers somebody different to look at. Sometimes it’s as simple as that, just put your guys in a different position and let them kind of relax and not let them worry about the last guy that they were struggling with. It all worked out and we had some pretty strong serving right out of the gate. That put them down and we got a lead and hung on to it.”
On continuing to improve
“I’m pleased with our serving; I think we’ve been serving the ball pretty well. We have stretches where we’re really good offensively and we have some stretches where we get a little impatient and we think we can kill every ball no matter what the situation is. Sometimes you can’t because it’s not a good enough set or it’s not a good enough dig. We need to be a little more patient so we’re trying to get them to understand that sometimes in practice.”
On the season so far
“We’ve played four pretty good matches. Two matches were against good teams in Pepperdine and George Mason. St. Francis, even though they were young, tested us and we hope that it gets us ready for Friday to start the MIVA season on the road.”
On the upcoming match against IPFW
“We’ve got to just keep doing what we’re doing. We’ve got to make sure that we’re the better offensive team over a long period of time and that requires patience on the road. You have to be willing to just take what the defense is giving you, and when you have your opportunities, go score.”