COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University men’s volleyball team (11-8) travels for road matches at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (9-5) and No. 15 George Mason University (10-7). Ohio State faces NJIT on Thursday (March 12) at 6 p.m. ET while the Buckeyes battles the Patriots on Saturday (March 14) at 5 p.m. ET.
George Mason is ranked 15th nationally this week in the AVCA Coaches Poll. The Buckeyes and Highlanders come in just outside the top-15, receiving the 16th and 19th most votes, respectively.
HISTORY WITH THE HIGHLANDERS
The Buckeyes face NJIT a dozen times between 1983-2013 and were victorious in 11 of those contests. The last four meetings have all gone the way of Ohio State in sweeping fashion following a Highlander five-set win in 1997. Thursday night will be the fourth meeting in Newark.
HISTORY WITH THE PATRIOTS
Ohio State leads the all-time series 32-26 thanks to a 16-match winning streak from 2010-18. George Mason snapped that stretch last season, topping the Buckeyes in St. John Arena. In Fairfax, Va., Ohio State has seized victory in nine of 15 matches against the Patriots.
DIGGING THE TEAM EFFORT
All hands on deck in the defensive backcourt for Ohio State this season. Eight different Buckeyes are averaging 1.20 or more digs per set, paced by Luke Meidel’s 2.20 digs/set. The Buckeyes totaled 64 digs in a four-set win over Penn State last week with four players reaching double-digit digs.
Outside hitters Reese Devilbiss and Martin Lallemand have posted similar offensive stat lines this season. Devilbiss has 203 kills on 476 attempts and a .309 hitting percentage while Lallemand’s 452 attempts have resulted in 206 kills and a .301 hitting percentage.
Ohio State is ranked top-10 nationally in two statistical categories, one offensive and one defensive. The Buckeyes are slotted fifth with 9.89 digs per set while their 12.68 kills per set rank 10th among 45 D I-II teams. Those numbers are good for second and fourth in the MIVA, respectively.
Individually, five Buckeyes are slotted top-10 among MIVA competitors and top-40 nationally:
Michael Wright | 10.20 assists/set (3rd in MIVA; 8th nationally)
Luke Meidel | 2.20 digs/set (4th; 16th)
Martin Lallemand | 3.97 points/set (6th; 30th), 3.32 kills/set (6th; 31st)
Reese Devilbiss | .309 hitting percentage (8th; 35th), 3.22 kills/set (8th; 38th)
Samuel Clark | .89 blocks/set (8th; 36th)
FRESHMEN MAKING IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Michael Wright has seized control of the setting duties while Samuel Clark is the only Buckeye to play in all 66 sets this season.
Michael Wright received National Freshman of the Week honors on Feb. 3 from Off the Block, the nation’s premier website for coverage of collegiate men’s volleyball. He steered the Ohio State offense to a .396 team hitting percentage with 64 assists during a pair of road sweeps at Saint Francis and Penn State.
Samuel Clark was selected for the same award on Jan. 21 after attacking .769 with 10 kills, eight blocks and five digs in wins over Lincoln Memorial and King.