COLUMBUS, Ohio – Top-seeded Ohio State (21-5) hosts No. 4-seed Lewis (19-10) Wednesday (April 18) at 7 p.m. ET inside St. John Arena for the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Semifinals. An automatic bid to the NCAA Championships is two wins away, awarded to the MIVA Tournament champion.
HISTORY WITH THE FLYERS
The Buckeyes own a 34-21 advantage in the all-time series with Lewis, including a 21-10 mark inside St. John Arena. Wednesday night represents a 2018 rubber match as the two regular season meetings were split with the home team winning both.
KINGS OF THE MIVA
Ohio State has hoisted a league-best 27 MIVA regular season trophies, followed by Ball State and its 21 championships. The next three in order are Fort Wayne (6), Loyola (6) and Lewis (4). The Buckeyes and Cardinals have combined to capture over 70 percent of the MIVA regular season trophies all-time.
St. John Arena, the home of Ohio State men’s volleyball, was treated the Buckeyes well over the last 50-plus seasons, serving as the stage for a 554-104 (.842) all-time home record.
Juniors Blake Leeson and Sanil Thomas have etched their name into the record books as well.
TAKING OVER THE OHIO STATE RECORD BOOKS
Nicolas Szerszen is closing in on another all-time Ohio State record, needing four kills to become the school’s all-time leader. He already holds the best mark ever for points (1,934), service aces (226), aces/set (.53). While his offensive output is the main attraction, Szerszen is also knocking on the door of the OSU Top-3 for digs. He enters the weekend with 738 digs, just five back from third-place Conor Martin (2005-08) and his 743.
Ohio State remains ranked inside of the AVCA Coaches Poll Top-10 for the 42nd consecutive time this week. During that stretch which dates back over three years (Apr. 4, 2015), the Buckeyes were the No. 1-slotted team nearly 40% of the time (16 of 42 polls).
Last time outside the Top-10: April 4, 2015
Last time unranked (Top-15): Final poll of 2014
‘SUNNY’ STEERING THE OFFENSE
Sanil `Sunny’ Thomas sits atop the country’s assists per set rankings, dishing out an NCAA-best 11.18 helpers per set. The Buckeye offense is attacking .342 under Thomas’ direction, ranking fourth nationally.
CONFERENCE’S TOP OFFENSE
Ohio State’s offensive attack is the best in the MIVA, pacing all conference schools in hitting percentage (.342), kills per set (13.33) and aces per set (1.80). The Buckeyes are slotted Top-4 nationally in all of those statistical categories. On the defensive side, Ohio State also leads the league by holding the opposition to a .204 team hitting percentage (fifth best in the NCAA).
NO ONE COMPARES WITH SZERSZEN
Senior Buckeye Nicolas Szerszen is not only the NCAA’s active career leader in kills and service aces, he’s leaps and bounds ahead of the next closest player. His 1,599 kills are over 350 clear of second-best TJ DeFalco of Long Beach State at 1,244 kills. From the service stripe, Szerszen has sniped the opposition 226 times while Robert Poole (Mount Olive) ranks second with 176 career service aces. The 226 career aces represent the fourth most in NCAA history and third highest mark during the rally scoring era (2001-2018).
In addition, Szerszen is attacking at a .371 clip for his career, the best among all active outside hitters.
HANSON NEARING ANOTHER MILESTONE
Head coach Pete Hanson is two wins away from becoming just the third coach in NCAA men’s volleyball history to reach 700 total career victories. He owns an overall record of 698-339 (.673) and can soon join Al Scates (UCLA, 1963-2012; 1,239 wins) and Don Shondell (Ball State, 1964, 1966-98; 769 wins) in the 700-Win Club. Ranking fourth on the all-time list is Fort Wayne’s Arnie Ball (1981-2015) with 574 triumphs.
MIVA PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Four different Buckeyes were honored in 2018:
Jake Hanes (Offensive; Jan. 30)
Maxime Hervoir (Offensive; March 6, Apr. 3)
Aaron Samarin (Defensive; March 6)
Nicolas Szerszen (Offensive; March 20, March 27) | 11 career MIVA weekly honors