Jan. 3, 2015
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Two matches, two victories for the 14th-ranked Ohio State men’s volleyball team to open its 2015 campaign. The Buckeyes secured a pair of four-set wins over McKendree University on back-to-back days inside St. John Arena. Saturday’s triumph came via set tallies of 25-20, 22-25, 25-17, 25-20.
Sophomore setter Christy Blough averaged just under 12 assists per set, steering the OSU offense to a .494 attacking rate (55-13-85). He got in on the action himself as well, putting away four kills on four swings. Miles Johnson and Michael Henchy each reached double-digit kills, combining for 29 terminations. Shawn Herron wasn’t far behind, taking advantage of his dozen attempts with nine kills and only two errors (.583).
Henchy was a factor in all phases, pacing Ohio State in attacking percentage (.750), digs (6) and service aces (3). The senior outside hitter is bouncing an average of three kills per set at a .594 clip through the first two contests of 2015. Johnson stuffed the staff sheet as well, adding five digs, two blocks and an ace to his 16-kill effort Saturday afternoon.
Ohio State’s offense revved its engine right out of the gates, lurching out to a .571 attacking percentage in the first set. A Bearcat service error to begin the match handed OSU a lead it would not relinquish the remainder of the period. The Buckeyes flexed their defensive muscle, too, holding McKendree to a .105 hitting rate in the 25-20 winner.
The Bearcats responded in set number two, matching Ohio State’s 11 kills and pulling even at one set apiece. With the scored tied at 6-6, McKendree snagged nine of the next 12 points to propel themselves in a 25-22 final ledger.
While McKendree attacked at an identical .348 efficiency in sets two and three, the final outcome was much different due to Ohio State exploding for a .591 percentage in the third. Henchy was nearly flawless in finding the hardwood on six of seven errorless swings. The Buckeyes pulled away mid-set, turning a slim 9-7 advantage into a margin as large as 10 points at 21-11 en route to the 25-17 `W.’
It was much the same in the fourth frame as Ohio State owned a lead from the 5-4 mark on. The door was closed for good at 25-20, sending the Buckeyes to 2-0 on the season.