April 9, 2015
COLUMBUS, Ohio – In the 174th all-time meeting between Ohio State and Ball State men’s volleyball, the Buckeyes posted a 3-0 sweep (25-17, 25-18, 30-28) Thursday night to move their all-time ledger versus the Cardinals to 92-82, including a 51-32 mark at St. John Arena.
Ohio State’s 20th win of the season came against head coach Pete Hanson’s alma mater. He has now guided the Scarlet & Gray to a 20-win season 19 times during his 31 years at the helm of the program. St. John Arena has served as the not-so-friendly confines for opposing teams in 2015. The No. 11 Buckeyes have dropped just nine sets in their 13 homes wins with the lone defeat coming to then-No. 1 Loyola. In the building’s 48-year history, Ohio State boasts an .833 winning percentage (505-101).
The NCAA leader in service aces kept it coming in this one. Ohio State ripped six more aces to raise their season average to 1.92 per set. The Buckeyes stuffed the stat sheet with 10 blocks, 43 kills and a .333 attacking percentage as well.
Driss Guessous was a difference-maker, putting away eight of 10 errorless swings for kills to go along with four blocks and a pair of aces. Christy Blough divvied up 35 assists on the night, connecting with Miles Johnson for a team-high 10 kills. In the three matches since Blough returned from injury, he’s stepped right back into the driver’s seat to the tune of 12.60 assists per set and a team hitting efficiency of .350.
The two squads exchanged blows throughout the first 22 points of the opening set, locking up in a tied score nine times during that stretch. The final stalemate came at 11-all, however, before Guessous toed the service line for seven consecutive points and OSU pulled away 18-11. Ohio State tacked on one more point to its margin and seized the set, 25-17.
Set number two was tightly-contested, too, before another long Buckeye scoring streak proved to be the difference. Ball State sat on top 13-10 when a service error went long and ignited the Buckeyes’ subsequent 11-point run. The 21-13 advantage eventually matured into a 25-18 winning tally.
A sweep seemed inevitable with the Buckeyes leading 20-14 late in the third frame. Ball State refused to go away quietly though and strung together a seven-point stretch of their own to vroom past OSU, 21-20. The Cardinals would go on to earn three separate set points, each of which were denied by Ohio State. Miles Johnson teamed with Herron for a block to make it 29-28. Johnson then took care of the rest on his own, annihilating his 10th kill to clinch the match 30-28.
Ohio State concludes the home portion of its regular season schedule on Saturday (April 11) with a 7 p.m. contest versus No. 14 IPFW.