April 17, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio —The top-seeded Ohio State University men’s volleyball team (26-3) moved on to the MIVA Semifinals by defeating No. 8-seed IPFW (10-19) in a three-set quarterfinal clash. Ohio State outscored the Mastodons by 23 points (25-18, 25-17, 25-17) to record its 18th consecutive victory.
The nation’s most electric offense lived up to the billing, attacking .465 as a team and ripping six service aces. Christy Blough assisted on 37 of 42 Buckeye kills and took care of two terminations on his own. Nicolas Szerszen was quantitatively the squad’s top weapon, racking up 16 kills, while Miles Johnson specialized in efficiency by attacking at a .600 rate on 13 put-aways. Szerszen added in a team-high three aces as well.
Johnson and Christian Franceschi each posted eight digs, nearly matching the entire IPFW total of 17 team digs. The Buckeyes accumulated 28 digs overall and added in five first-set blocks to limit the Mastodons at a .203 hitting percentage.
The blocking brigade began right away on a Johnson solo stuff to make it 2-0 in the opening frame. Four more Scarlet stuffs would follow in a back-and-forth affair. The Mastodons pulled even at 16-16 before a 9-2 run for Ohio State erased any idea of an IPFW comeback, ending the set 25-18.
Ohio State kept it coming in set number two, swinging at a .647 clip. The Buckeyes would lead throughout, cruising 25-17.
Set Three mirrored the first — tightly contested until a huge Buckeye surge closed it out. Ohio State trailed 16-14 when a Johnson kill kick-started the match-clinching 11-1 stretch. Szerszen put the team on his back, ending four of the next five points on kills and carrying the Buckeyes to a 25-17 victory. Peter Edwards was a major contributor to the late-set dominance, too, toeing the service stripe for the final six points.
Ohio State’s 26 wins this season are the most since the 2011 NCAA Champions finished at 26-6. A win in Wednesday’s MIVA Semfinals would give the Buckeyes their highest win total since 1998 (28-10).