March 9, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A trio of Top-12 collegiate men’s volleyball teams take the floor at St. John Arena this weekend (March 10-11) in four-team, two-event. The top-ranked Buckeyes and fellow MIVA program Ball State, ranked 12th nationally, take on the MPSF’s UC San Diego and No. 6 UC Irvine on alternate evenings.
— OSU Men’s Volleyball (@OhioState_MVB) March 9, 2017
Ohio State carries a 41-match winning streak into the weekend
Marks the longest winning streak in OSU Athletics history for teams competing in head-to-head competition
Also represents the MIVA’s all-time best (previous: Loyola – 40 matches in 2014-15)
The Buckeyes last suffered an NCAA loss on February 6, 2016 (nearing 400 days)
Ohio State has won 123 of 149 sets (83%) during the victorious stretch
The streak includes six wins over Top-5 opponents and nearly half (18) against teams ranked inside the Top-12
Also included in the streak are 18 straight wins in true road matches (last loss in an opponent’s home gym came in ’15)
UCLA set the all-time record of 47 straight in both 1979-80 and 1983-85
HISTORY WITH THE TRITONS AND ANTEATERS
The Buckeyes haven’t faced UC San Diego since 2011, a four-set loss out in California. Ohio State owns an upper hand in the all-time series, however, taking both contests hosted inside St. John Arena in 2006 and 2007. The Buckeyes and UC Irvine met at Long Beach State University a year ago, ending with a 3-1 victory for the Scarlet & Gray. Beginning in 1989, the overall ledger sits in favor of the Anteaters as winners in six of 10 previous clashes. This weekend marks the first time UC Irvine has trekked across the country to face the Buckeyes in Columbus.
TOP OF THE HEAP
Ohio State is positioned atop the AVCA Coaches Poll for the 11th consecutive week, dating back to the final national poll of 2016. This is just the seventh time since 1986, when the AVCA first released a weekly poll, in which a team has manned the top spot for 11 weeks in a row.
Senior libero Gabriel Domecus led all players with eight digs in last weekend’s victory over Saint Francis, but more importantly ran his career total to 743 digs to pull even with Conor Martin (2005-08) for the second most in school history. Mik Berzins (2009-12) ranks first all-time owning 902 career digs.
AND THEN THERE WAS ONE
The Buckeyes received an assist from Big Ten brethren Penn State on Jan. 28 by handing Coker College its first loss of 2017, ensuring Ohio State as the country’s only remaining undefeated squad.
Pete Hanson has roamed the sideline as Ohio State men’s volleyball head coach for more than three decades and will soon coach his 1,000th career match as the Buckeye leader. In 995 contests, Hanson owns an overall winning percentage of .666 (663-333) which includes a 288-90 (.762) ledger in MIVA play. The four-time National Coach of the Year has guided OSU to a pair of NCAA titles, 16 MIVA regular season championships and 11 MIVA Tournament trophies since taking over the helm in 1985.
CHAMPIONSHIP TICKETS ON SALE NOW
All-session tickets for the 2017 NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship are now on sale. Ohio’s capital city has laid claim to the title of `Volleyball Capital of the Midwest,’ becoming the first site in NCAA history to host both the women’s and men’s collegiate national championship in the same academic year in addition to a long history of hosting amateur volleyball events. The NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship was held Dec. 15-17, 2016 downtown at Nationwide Arena with the men’s trophy being awarded May 4-6, 2017 inside St. John Arena.
Ohio State is not only 18-0 and the top-ranked team in the land, but is also slotted highly in nearly every statistical category. The Buckeyes rank second nationally in kills (13.64/set), hitting percentage (.373) and assists (12.59/set). Ohio State ranks Top-10 in the country with 1.83 aces/set (3rd), an opponent hitting percentage of .198 (7th) 2.41 blocks/set (9th) as well.
Individually, three Buckeyes rank Top-3 in an NCAA statistical category: Christy Blough (10.97 assists/set – 2nd), Miles Johnson (5.01 points/set – 3rd) and Nicolas Szerszen (.68 aces/set – 2nd). Szerszen is also slotted highly for points/set (4.86 – 6th) and kills/set (3.95 – 9th), as is Johnson with 4.13 kills/set (6th).
PUSHED TO THE BRINK
For the first time this season Ohio State ventured into a fifth set on Feb. 26 at Grand Canyon, emerging victorious 15-11 to hand the Antelopes their second ‘L’ of the weekend. The Buckeyes overcame a 10-8 fifth-set deficit by seizing seven of the final eight rallies to keep the winning streak intact.
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 that same match. Szerszen is now a few steps ahead at 147 aces while Johnson remains in the hunt with 136 aces.
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 7 of the match notes.