Feb. 1, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Thursday’s contest in Muncie, Ind., dually represents Ohio State’s 2017 conference opener and an opportunity to extend its winning streak to 33 straight matches, breaking a 47-year-old school record set back in 1969-70. The top-ranked Buckeyes face No. 12 Ball State at 7:30 p.m. ET (Feb. 2) before returning to the state of Indiana for a Saturday night showdown (Feb. 4) vs. the Fort Wayne Mastodons.
Ohio State carries a 32-match winning streak into Muncie, tied for the longest in school history (1969-70)
The Buckeyes last suffered an NCAA loss on February 6, 2016 (vs. Ball State)
Ohio State won 96 of 115 sets (83%) during the victorious stretch
The streak includes six wins over Top-5 opponents and nearly half (15) against teams ranked inside the Top-12
Also included in the streak are 14 straight wins in true road matches
Loyola owns 40-match run in 2014-15 while UCLA is believed to own the all-time record of 47 straight (1983-85)
ISN’T IRONIC, DON’T YOU THINK?
Pete Hanson graduated from Ball State University. Ohio State’s most recent loss (Feb. 6, 2016) came against the Cardinals. The 32-matching winning streak in 1969-70 was ended by, you guessed it, Ball State. In an attempt to set the new school record of 33 consecutive victories, the Buckeyes must get past Ball State.
HISTORY WITH THE CARDINALS AND MASTODONS
Ohio State has squared off with Ball State more than any other opponent in program history. The Buckeyes and Cardinals have met up 177 times since 1968 with OSU owning a 94-83 advantage in the all-time series. Ball State is 36-30 in Muncie, however. Ohio State has a long history with Fort Wayne (formerly known as IPFW) as well, matching up with the Mastodons on 111 occasions with a 74-37 edge. The Buckeyes have topped Fort Wayne five straight overall and hold a slim 24-22 lead in matches played in Fort Wayne.
Miles Johnson EARNS NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
Miles Johnson was named the AVCA National Player of the Week and MIVA Offensive Player of the Week on Jan. 31 after averaging over five kills and six points per set in a week filled with three Buckeye victories, including two over nationally-ranked opponents. This marks the second time winning both awards for Johnson, also doing so on Feb. 16, 2016.
THE ACE RACE
Miles Johnson surpassed Buckeye great Steve Potter (1992-95) with his 124th career service ace on Jan. 28 vs. Long Beach State, becoming Ohio State’s all-time career leader for aces. Johnson’s sole ownership of the school record lasted just 37 minutes, however, as Nicolas Szerszen also tallied his 124th ace to pull even atop the list later in the match.
The aforementioned dynamic duo does not represent the only Buckeyes chasing all-time career marks. Christy Blough, Gabriel Domecus and Driss Guessous are climbing up the school rankings as well. A comprehensive look at the `Career Records Watch’ can be found on Page 6 of the match notes.
AND THEN THERE WAS ONE
The Buckeyes received an assist from Big Ten brethren Penn State during the past weekend by handing Coker College its first loss of 2017 on Jan. 28, ensuring Ohio State as the country’s only remaining undefeated squad.
Ohio State is not only 9-0 and the top-ranked team in the land, but is also slotted highly in nearly every statistical category. The Buckeyes lead nationally in kills (13.50/set), aces (1.93/set) and assists (12.70/set); and rank third in the NCAA with a .347 hitting percentage and 2.60 blocks per set.
Individually, four Buckeyes can be found in the Top-10 of at least one NCAA statistical category. Miles Johnson’s 5.33 points per set are tops in the country while Nicolas Szerszen’s 5.17 points/set are slotted fourth. Johnson and Szerszen also rank fourth nationally with 4.34 kills/set and .70 aces/set, respectively.. Blake Leeson’s 1.21 blocks/set and a 4.07 kills/set by Szerszen both come in at ninth-best. In addition, Christy Blough’s 11.30 assists/set have not only aided the Johnson-Szerszen offensive output, but also place him second in NCAA.