Feb. 20, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 6 Ohio State University men’s volleyball team (12-3, 7-1 MIVA) defeated Grand Canyon University (9-6, 2-4 MIVA) for its 12th win of the season, fourth in a row and seventh in eight MIVA matches. The Buckeye offense shined again, attacking at a team rate of .402 with 55 kills and seven service aces.
Outside hitters Nicolas Szerszen and Miles Johnson handled the bulk of the offensive load for the second consecutive evening. The Buckeye tandem registered 36 combined kills and accounted for 45.5 points. Szerszen buried 19 kills on 29 swings with just three errors (.552) while scorching five aces from the service stripe. Johnson lit the scoreboard 17 times offensively via the kill and was directly responsible for four more points on the defensive end with a career-high six blocks (2s, 4a). Johnson was effective in the defensive backcourt as well, matching Gabriel Domecus for a team-high six digs.
Christy Blough, who averaged a dozen assists per set, shared the wealth evenly en route to 14 helpers in the first frame. Four different Buckeye teammates were on the receiving end of Blough’s sets resulting in three or more kills. Szerszen’s four terminations led the way while Matt Dorn, Christian Franceschi, Johnson each chipped in three kills. Szerszen started off the night by giving OSU a 1-0 edge with an ace on the opening point. The Buckeyes would go on to never trail in the set despite a tightly-contested affair. Grand Canyon’s called timeout at 24-22 was swiftly followed up by a Dorn-Szerszen stuff to end it 25-22.
Ohio State raced out to a 4-0 lead in set number two and grabbed six of the first seven tallies. The Antelopes weren’t going to go away quietly, however, eventually marching back and moving ahead by a pair at 17-15. The subsequent four points went in favor of the Buckeyes though and OSU remained on top for the remainder of a 25-23 triumph.
The ‘lopes emerged from intermission with plenty of fight left in them. An 8-1 GCU run mid-set proved too much to overcome for Ohio State as the match stretched into a fourth set following a 25-17 Antelope victory.
Szerszen then got the fourth started with a kill and an elongated stay at the service line that included three aces, another Szerszen kill and a pair of Buckeye blocks – all coming together to create a ‘7-love’ score for Ohio State. The Buckeyes would tack on two more integers to the gap by set’s end, wrapping up as a 25-16 final ledger.
St. John Arena will re-open its doors next Friday (Feb. 26) for a 7 p.m. match vs. Pfeiffer University; a contest originally scheduled for Jan. 23 before Winter Storm Jonas wreaked havoc on the Falcons travel plans and forced a postponement.