April 6, 2018

Ohio State Earns Third Consecutive Conference Crown

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Ohio State University men’s volleyball team (20-4, 11-2 MIVA) captured its 27th Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association regular season championship by sweeping past the 15th-ranked Mastodons of Fort Wayne (17-10, 5-8 MIVA) in straight sets (25-18, 25-23, 25-16). The No. 7 Buckeyes also clinched the conference tournament’s top seed and will face No. 12 Ball State Saturday evening with an outright title on the line.

Ohio State extended its winning streak to nine matches overall and has stretched the MIVA title winning sprint to three seasons in a row.

The Buckeyes attacked .455 as a team behind the three-headed monster of Jake Hanes, Maxime Hervoir and Nicolas Szerszen at the pins and from the back row. Nick Laffin and Blake Leeson combined for eight kills on 17 error-free attempts in the middle.

Sanil Thomas divvied up 40 assists while pacing the squad with eight digs. Aaron Samarin and Szerszen were close behind with seven digs apiece.

SET 1: Hervoir, the reigning MIVA Offensive Player of the Week, made an early case for retention of that distinction by blasting 10 kills on 13 swings in the opening set alone. He hit .615 while the team posted a .600 attacking clip to out-race the Mastodons hitting .429 in a 25-18 frame lacking much defensive resistance. Hanes and Leesons were flawless on the offensive end, combining for eight kills on eight attempts as Ohio State concluded an 11-5 run. The Buckeyes posted a sizzling side-out percentage of 88 percent.

SET 2: Hervoir’s 4-for-7 attacking effort in the second was overshadowed by a 7-0-11 line for Szerszen. The Buckeyes kept rolling as a unit with a .432 team percentage while stiffening on the defensive end holding Fort Wayne at .225. Five Mastodon aces kept the set tight, however, and Ohio State finally sealed the deal on its fourth set-point opportunity for a 25-23 winner.

SET 3: The Buckeye offense fell off a bit (.286 efficiency), but was supported by four team blocks which included two solo stuffs from Leeson. Ohio State limited the Mastodons to an .033 hitting percentage and laid claim to the MIVA Tournament’s top seed by way of a 25-16 clinching third frame.

Ohio State is back at it again Saturday (April 7) evening at 7:30 p.m. ET versus Ball State. A win would lock up the outright conference crown.